The Philippine gaming regulator exceeded official guidelines for loyalty payments to certain long-serving staff during calendar year 2017, according to the latest report from the country’s public spending watchdog, the Commission on Audit.
The audit report on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) for 2017 also covered a recurring annual topic: the alleged underpayment by Pagcor of remittances due to the national government.
The commission said the underpayment by Pagcor – relative to the government’s 50 percent share of cash dividends from Pagcor operations – for the period from calendar year 2011 to calendar year 2017 inclusive, amounted to nearly PHP21.19 billion (US$396 million).
The document released this week also said that in 2017 the gaming regulator provided cash rewards aggregating to nearly PHP12.5 million for officials with 20 years of service, plus an 18-carat gold ring as memento for each staffer. The total spent for the gold rings came to just over PHP13 million.
The Commission on Audit said the rewards were “in excess of the amount provided for” in a commission circular of September 2013. That circular said the maximum payment for 20 years of service in relevant public bodies should be up to PHP5,000 per person.
The commission said Pagcor’s own handbook of rules covering the matter mentioned a cash payment of PHP10,000 per person for 20 years of service, plus one month of basic pay and the 18-carat, 10-gramme (0.35-ounce) gold ring.
The commission’s 2017 report stated: “We recommended and management agreed, to seek clarification/approval from the Office of the President on the grant of benefits, particularly the loyalty awards to… Pagcor employees.”
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