Govt eyes special council for PAGCOR privatization

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A typical two-storey building funded by PAGCOR. PHOTO FROM PAGCOR WEBSITE

MANILA – A specialized council is set to be formed for the privatization of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which will push through after the issuance of an Executive Order (EO).

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters that the privatization of the government-controlled gaming regulator is on track. “We are working on it. We already submitted a draft EO (Executive Order) to the President for the process of privatizing PAGCOR,” he said.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF) chief, a special privatization team, not the Privatization and Management Office (PMO), needs to be created because PAGCOR “is a special case.”

He said the council will be composed of representatives from the Office of the President (OP), the DOF, the Department of Budget and Management, and the Governance Commission for GOCCs.

“It is licenses that you are privatizing, and it’s a little more technical. Quite frankly, we admit it’s a little more technical than what the PMO can handle. So we said we will make a special (privatization office), separate from PMO, so we have to have a specialized team,” he said.

Dominguez said PAGCOR officials have been consulted for the privatization of the institution.

He said the draft EO was submitted to the OP last September. “Yes (we are on track). We just need the authority from the President,” he said.

Dominguez declined to estimate a timeline when the EO would be issued, but said that “generally it will come out (in) about 60 to 90 days” once the draft has been submitted.

Dominguez is pushing for PAGCOR’s privatization for the agency to focus on regulations instead of manning even the revenue-generation aspect of its casinos.

PAGCOR owns and controls around 46 casinos nationwide.

He earlier estimated the valuation process of these casinos to start in the last quarter of this year.

The Duterte administration wants to privatize PAGCOR to raise revenues for the government.