The Philippines’ Finance Secretary, Benjamin Diokno, has said that the privatisation of some government-owned and controlled corporations, including of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), could help boost the government’s revenues. The official said also that the government would “be very aggressive” in its privatisation effort.
Mr Diokno made the comments in a Friday meeting with members of the House Committee on Appropriations, according to local media reports.
Pagcor operates state-owned casinos under the “Casino Filipino” umbrella, and also licences and regulates private-sector venues.
Following the meeting on Friday, Mr Diokno told reporters that Pagcor’s new board should announce its plans regarding the separation of its regulator and operator duties.
“Pagcor’s new leadership will have to make known their plans moving forward. They should resolve the seemingly conflicting roles as an operator and regulator,” Mr Diokno was quoted as saying by the Business World media outlet.
“We would like the economy to grow [and] to recover. So, if there [are] additional resources available to us – either through maybe new loans or maybe additional revenues coming from, say, privatisation of some corporations – we would be willing to support a supplemental budget,” he added.
Ideas for privatising Pagcor’s own casino operations have been mentioned in the past by a number of national administrations, but have not been pursued.
A new Pagcor leadership was sworn into office earlier this month by the nation’s leader, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Alejandro H. Tengco was appointed as Pagcor chairman and chief executive, and Juanito L. Sañosa Jr as president and chief operating officer.
Pagcor saw its net income leap to approximately PHP2.16 billion (US$38.4 million) for the first six months of 2022. It compared with net income of just under PHP79.1 million in the prior-year period.
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