The real estate sector is bracing for the possible closure of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) companies and their service providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President and CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants called this “the perfect storm for the property market.”
Leechiu said that POGOs occupy 1.7 million square meters of office nationwide and two million square meters of residential space. Megaworld’s Andrew Tan said that “BPO employees can’t fill up the void because [they] are Filipinos and they go home to their houses. They don’t need to rent residential spaces.”
As a precondition to their partial reopening during the quarantine period, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has issued a circular requiring POGOs to show proof that they have paid their 2019 franchise taxes, withholding taxes, and 2019 corporate income tax. So far, Internal Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said no POGO has been able to comply with these rules.