President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to stop online gambling in the Philippines has placed 5,000 people at risk of losing their jobs. And that’s just with PhilWeb alone.
Dennis Valdes, president of the Philippine-based gaming technology provider, broke his silence over the weekend with a warning that shutting down the publicly-listed firm would cost the government at least PHP2.1 billion (USD44.68 million) in royalty fees that PhilWeb pays the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
To date, the private firm—which operates 286 e-Games outlets—has remitted PHP14 billion (USD297.9 million) to Pagcor and paid over PHP280 million (USD5.96 million) in corporate income tax, VAT and other taxes, Valdes said in a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange.
PhilWeb’s temporary license is set to expire on August 10, and if the firm’s contract with Pagcor is canceled or not renewed, the company’s license to operate will automatically come to an end and PhilWeb will “shut down all operations.”
This means, Valdes said, that all of the firm’s suppliers, including small and medium businesses that supply goods and services to each e-Games outlet, will also be affected, Pagcor will be denied the average PHP6 million (USD127,671) daily share of e-Games revenue.
“The main reason why Mr. Ongpin resigned from PhilWeb is to save the company,” Valdes said. “He recognized that if he stayed on, PhilWeb’s e-Games outlets could be shut down, which would lead to the loss of its business and eventual closure, affecting more than 5,000.”
Last week, Duterte singled out PhilWeb chairman Roberto Ongpin in his campaign against oligarchs, who he said “are embedded in the government,” prompting the businessman to step down from his position as chair and director of the private firm. Ongpin also quit his post in all PhilWeb subsidiaries.
PhilWeb said Ongpin is currently focusing on his other projects, particularly in the real estate sector.
Ongpin’s daughter follows dad’s footsteps
Amid the controversies surrounding her father, Anna Bettina Ongpin announced she is also stepping down from her position as vice chairman and director of PhilWeb.
The younger Ongpin tendered her resignation last week—on the same day her father stepped down—effective immediately.
In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange, Anna Ongpin cited “to devote more time and attention to other business matters” as her reason for resigning.