The Philippine gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), has issued a statement refuting certain assertions of the country’s public spending watchdog, including a headline-grabbing complaint about money allegedly spent on 18-carat gold rings for some 20-year veterans of the regulator.
A report from the country’s Commission on Audit, publicised last week, claimed that Pagcor had exceeded official guidelines for loyalty payments and gifts to certain long-serving staff during calendar year 2017.
The spending watchdog also covered a recurring annual topic: the alleged underpayment by Pagcor of remittances due to the national government. The commision said that from calendar year 2011 to calendar year 2017 inclusive, the short payment was in aggregate nearly PHP21.19 billion (US$396 million).
But Pagcor said in a statement refuting media reporting on a number of Commission findings: “The giving of 18-carat gold memento rings for 20-year loyalty awardees, as well as cash awards, has already been stopped since 2016 by the present management headed by chairman and CEO Andrea D. Domingo.”
The gaming regulator added that – in any case – the Presidential Decree 1869 had given the regulator the “authority to craft the company’s personnel policies”. Pagcor said additionally that in 2011 it sought – and received – the approval of then President Benigno S. Aquino III “for the adjustments in the salaries and benefits” for its personnel, “including the loyalty award granted by Pagcor since 2008″.
The gaming regulator’s statement did not directly address the issue of alleged underpayment of PHP21 billion to the national government since 2011. But it stated: “Pagcor contests the allegation that its generosity did not extend to the national government as well as to the [country's] athletes.”
The regulator noted: “The Philippine Sports Commission share remains the single largest funding obligation of Pagcor, which already amounted to more than PHP13 billion from 1990 to 2017.”
The statement added: “Pagcor’s total sports-related funding to date already amounts to more than PHP13.25 billion.”
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