Pia: POGO Tax Law to raise funds for healthcare, SDGs

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today described Republic Act No. 11590 – the newly signed law taxing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) – as a ‘major win’ for the country because it will generate billions in additional funds for public services, but without burdening Filipino taxpayers.

“For years, many of these POGOS have been operating without paying the proper taxes. By virtue of this law that I sponsored and defended, they will now be taxed,” said Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and principal sponsor of the POGO Tax Law.

“POGOS are offshore gaming operators. That means only foreigners abroad may gamble in POGOs. So the taxes do not come from Filipinos, or even foreigners residing in the country,” she explained.

“I’d rather tax the POGOs than see a proliferation of gambling in the country, which sadly seems to be the direction that our colleagues in the House are taking with the recent passage of a bill allowing online gambling,” she emphasized.

She further noted that under the new law, 60 percent of total revenues from the gaming tax imposed on offshore gaming companies will be earmarked by the government, and allocated for the following purposes:

•60% for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act;
•20% for the Health Facilities Enhancement Fund; and
•20% for the attainment of the SDGs, provided that the specific SDG targets shall be determined by NEDA.

“We made sure that the revenues from POGOs will be earmarked for much-needed health programs amid the pandemic, and contribute to the attainment of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” added the senator, who also chairs the Senate Committee on the SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking.

Based on estimates of the Department of Finance (DOF), Cayetano said RA 11590 is projected to generate P22.9 billion in 2022, through the 5 percent gaming tax imposed on the gross gaming revenues of POGO licensees.

In addition, the government is expected to collect P9.2 billion in 2022 from the 25 percent final withholding tax imposed on foreign POGO employees.

Combined, she said the total projected revenues from RA 11590 would amount to P32.1 billion in 2022. #

Senator Pia Cayetano
Senator Pia Cayetano at the Senate session hall

Pia seeks budget anchored on programs promoting SDGs

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is urging the country’s top economic planning agency to come up with specific budgetary targets anchored on helping the  government achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Chair of the Senate Committee on SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, Cayetano led the panel’s hearing on Thursday (July 16) to discuss the future of transportation for the new normal and beyond.

The senator has been actively pushing for sustainable transportation, including the integration of mass transport systems with infrastructure that support active modes of mobility, including more walkways and bike lanes.

During the hearing, Cayetano urged the National Economic and Development Academy (NEDA) to propose a budget strategy aimed at fulfilling the country’s growth targets under the United Nations’ SDGs and the country’s own AmBisyon Natin 2040.

“Given that NEDA is the agency tasked to oversee these goals, it would be very relevant for this committee if you can really put targets in terms of budgeting to promote sustainability,” she said.

The senator said realigning our budget to incentivize sustainable activities would allow the government to maximize its resources in a way that the country would “always move in the direction of sustainability.”

“If there will be fewer counterproductive activities, then we might be able to spend more for sustainable ones. For instance, if we can reduce expenses in addressing the detrimental effects of pollution on our people’s health, then more resources could be used to build (green) infrastructure.”

Cayetano also expressed her willingness to hold dialogues and work with different agencies and stakeholders to convince more decision-makers to support funding for the SDGs.

“These are discussions we need to have about budgeting for the SDGs [and] creating the right environment to promote investments that are sustainable in nature,” the senator concluded. #

Futures Thinking will be crucial in the post-COVID world

“A Futures Thinking mindset is crucial in the post-COVID world.”

This was the key takeaway of Senator Pia S. Cayetano from the first virtual public hearing she conducted in the Senate which invited futures thinking experts who talked about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and what the future holds for the Philippines and the world.

The Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation, and Futures Thinking, which Cayetano chairs, held a hearing on Tuesday (May 12) to discuss with experts the necessary innovations and strategies in adapting to the ‘new normal’ amid the health crisis which severely disrupted lives, economies, and institutions across the globe.

“We all know that these are very challenging times for all of us. And it’s really important that the different sectors in government, our NGOs [non-government organizations], and private citizens are able to avail of the best information there is worldwide to help us better understand what it means to use Futures Thinking as a tool to effectively plan for the new normal,” Cayetano stressed.

Leading the panel of experts in the hearing was futurist professor Dr. Sohail Inayatullah, who was awarded the first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chairmanship in Futures Studies in 2015.  Also invited were Dr. Tuomo Kuosa and Saku Koskinen, directors of Futures Platform, a Helsinki, Finland-based technology company that specializes in futures thinking and foresight analyses.

The resource persons offered insights on how governments and decision-makers can analyze possible post-COVID outcomes based on available technologies and intelligence worldwide.

Dr. Inayatullah described the COVID-19 pandemic as a “hammer that forced us to change,” stressing the present need for people and governments to develop new skills sets that will help them thrive in the new normal.

“We are all in this situation together… We all have to learn new skills sets [and create] Futures Literacy, which will help us be far more prepared for the futures we wish to see,” he stated, adding that Futures Thinking brings together citizens, academic experts, political leaders, and businesses towards a shared vision of the future they want to achieve.

Meanwhile, experts from Futures Platform shared their expertise on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in monitoring and detecting trends and phenomena that might have an impact on the future to help form sound action plans.

The team particularly created a free online radar where people can “view the world after COVID-19.” It displays a holistic view of the world after the pandemic, which shows various drivers of change and the latest news and updates on them. The initiative seeks to help decision-makers plan for specific futures that they envision. https://www.futuresplatform.com

“We believe in foresight as a process, a methodology, and a great way to navigate environments. There is a need to make long-lasting plans for the government and understand the future to the best extent… These are challenges we see globally and we try to address them through technology, expert foresight, and knowledge,” Futures Platform Sales Director Saku Koskinen said.

“This is why we created the Futures Platform as a technical solution,” he added.

Cayetano supported the experts’ view that Futures Thinking is an integral part of thriving in the new normal. She stressed that having foresight based on big data and technology can help policymakers get a better grasp of “ever-changing environments” and be more prepared to make important decisions for the future.

“This is why I strongly advocate Futures Literacy among Filipinos, especially among our decision-makers,” the senator noted. #

Senator Pia S. Cayetano presides over a virtual hearing that invited acknowledged futures thinking experts to talk about post-COVID scenarios and trends for the Philippines and the world.

Pia calls for renewed commitment to UN global goals

“Let us make sustainability an integral part of our national development goals.”

Thus said Senator Pia S. Cayetano, as she called for government’s renewed commitment to fulfill the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, Cayetano on Monday (March 2), together with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, led the opening of the Senate exhibit on the SDGs at the Senate legacy hallway.

The exhibit which runs until March 5 aims to promote public awareness on the importance of achieving the 17 SDGs to benefit all Filipinos.

Among those who joined the ribbon cutting ceremony were: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Titon Mitra; National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos; and Senate Deputy Secretary for Administration and Finance Services Atty. Arnel Bañas.

Cayetano stressed that while the country has committed to adopt the global goals, much remains to be done to achieve the various targets by 2030.

“We continue to face issues arising in health, education, agriculture, environment, equality, peace and justice, among others. We need to initiate more reforms to renew our commitment to the SDGs,” stressed the senator, who has filed measures in the Senate towards this cause.

Cayetano filed Senate Resolution No. 308, declaring the 2020s as the “SDGs Decade of Action.” It seeks to mobilize government, private sector, stakeholders, and citizens to work together towards sustainability in the next 10 years leading to 2030.

The senator also filed Senate Bill No. 1362 or the Sustainable Development Framework Act, which mandates NEDA to incorporate the SDGs and their associated targets in its sustainable development policy and programs.

Cayetano’s committee recently conducted a public hearing to discuss these measures with stakeholders from both the government and the private sector. The senator said she hopes to sponsor her proposals in plenary soon.

(L-R): Senate Deputy Secretary for Administration and Finance Services Atty. Arnel Bañas, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Committee on SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking Pia S. Cayetano, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Titon Mitra; and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Secretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos.


Sen. Pia Cayetano has filed the Sustainable Development Framework Act, which mandates NEDA to incorporate the SDGs and their associated targets in its sustainable development policy and programs.

Private sector participation key to achieving SDGs

“Creating a sustainable future for all is an integrated responsibility. We all need to do things together to achieve our goals.”
Thus said Senator Pia S. Cayetano as she called for stronger public-private partnerships in fulfilling the country’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The whole point of the SDGs is to look at it from an integrated point of view. Public-private partnership is so important. It’s important that as we lead, we also follow. As we inspire people, we also aspire to be better,” the senator said in a speech before top executives of the Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) during their SustainAGIlity Conference on Thursday (February 6).
Cayetano stressed that private companies and corporations also carry the role of educating the public on the 17 Global Goals that the country seeks to achieve by 2030.
“A lot of people still don’t know what SDGs are. So the big challenge we have, and I’m sure all of you are onboard, is to share with everyone what these goals are. Right now, we lack information campaigns on the SDGs, so maybe you can help us share the news,” she said.
The chair of the Senate Committee on SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, Cayetano recently filed a resolution declaring 2020s as the “SDGs Decade of Action.”
This initiative seeks to encourage participation of experts from both government and the private sector to work towards achieving the SDGs.
“We need people who can take a step back and ensure that we are thinking of the future. Because otherwise, we get stuck in the now. We need to think of this on a national level [and determine] our baselines,” the senator said.
“It’s really necessary for people to be able to think creatively.  Without sustainable plans, well-intended policies may not necessarily give us the outcomes we expect,” she added.
Furthermore, the senator also urged companies to look at the SDGs as a set of intertwined goals, instead of treating each goal separately.
“It is erroneous to think that we have the option to choose just one goal that we want to deal with. It’s not meant to work that way. These goals are all integrated and indivisible,” she emphasized.
“These goals balance the dimensions of sustainable development of the economy, society, and environment. So for any activity, it’s not just about identifying one goal. It’s about tying them all together,” she added.
In particular, Cayetano said private companies can be drivers of SDGs by helping make the country’s cities and communities more sustainable, and by promoting the practice of sustainable consumption and production.
“A lot of these companies are involved in building cities, communities, and places where people live. In a way, they are also planning the lives of these people, as they play a part in deciding how these people manage their families and improve their quality of life. So they need to consider that as they plan for sustainability,” Cayetano said.
“There is also a need for innovation on how they produce their services for everyday life. They need to reinvent our manner of consumption by making sustainable alternatives more available to consumers,” the senator concluded. #
Senator Pia Cayetano was one of the speakers at the SustaiAGIlity forum organized by the Alliance Global Group Inc.(AGI), one of the country’s largest conglomerates.
Senator Pia Cayetano shares the success story of Barangay Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, in setting up a Materials Recovery facility (MRF).
Cayetano: “Without sustainable plans, well-intended policies may not necessarily give us the outcomes we expect.”
Facebook live: Senator Pia Cayetano with Alliance Global Group Inc. CEO Kevin Andrew Tan.