• PhilWeb employees to go on forced leave

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    PhilWeb Corp. is putting some of its employees under forced leave while it is in discussion with the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor) for a renewed license.

    In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, PhilWeb said it will place the 216 out of its 700 employees on “forced leave” while it is working on a renewed license with Pagcor.

    “During this time of the company’s discussions with Pagcor for the renewal of the Intellectual Property Licensing and Management Agreement (IPLMA), the company will temporarily put on ‘forced leave’ [its]216 employees for a period of one month effective on September 1, 2016,” it added.

    PhilWeb president Dennis Valdes has not replied to inquiries from The Manila Times at press time.

    PhilWeb’s license expired on August 10 but Pagcor refused to renew the license or issue a new one, guided by President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements to eliminate all forms of online gaming and gambling.

    Accused of being an online gaming company, PhilWeb repeatedly cleared this, saying the company is only a service technology provider to Pagcor’s 286 e-Games outlets.

    After its former chairman Roberto V. Ongpin was tagged by the President as an oligarch that the administration should destroy, PhilWeb pitched a business plan to Pagcor on August 24 where the company will engage in mobile lottery instead of being a technology provider of e-Games outlets.

    Soon after this proposal, the President said online gaming firms can operate if they are paying the right taxes.

    Through the e-Games outlets, PhilWeb employs 700 personnel and 5,000 others who are e-Games operators.

    Operating for 14 years as a service provider for the e-Games outlets, it has remitted over P14 billion to Pagcor, which the gaming regulator used for its pro-poor programs.

    In 2015, PhilWeb remitted more than P2.1 billion to the gaming regulator and also paid over P280 million in corporate income tax, VAT and other taxes.

    KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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