PCSO loses millions in STL earnings to illegal gambling

The Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO is losing an estimated P300 million in revenues from the Small Town Lottery (STL) operations to illegal gambling operators in Mindanao.

PCSO spokesperson Florente Solmerin said these loses should have been intended for charity funds. He said this is the reason why PCSO is strongly campaigning against illegal gambling and sought the support of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help eradicate illegal operations such as jueteng, masiao, illegal swertres and last two.

While the PCSO and the PNP are seeing good results from the campaign against illegal gambling, Solmerin said there are still operations surfacing using STL as their front.

He told reporters during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Annex Monday that illegal gambling in Mindanao is not worst as that in Luzon.

Solmerin cited improvement in STL revenues with P1.1 billion earnings monthly compared to previous records at P400 million monthly.

Mindanao has 75 STL operators of the 92 approved by PCSO.

PCSO Deputy Manager in Mindanao Gloria Ybanez underscored the STL’s benefits to giving employment to Filipinos.

She said that in Mindanao alone, STL operations created 10,318 jobs.

According to Ybanez, the revenues of PCSO are distributed to prizes for the winners which make up 55 percent; 15 percent for the operating expenses of PCSO; and the 30 percent for the charity funds.

Ybanez said the medical assistance is PCSO’s top brand product.

From January to September, this year, PCSO already shelled out P44 million for the hospital and medicine needs of 1,800 patients-beneficiaries in Mindanao.

So far, Ybanez said PCSO is giving medical assistance amounting to P8.9 million daily.

But with increased revenues, PCSO records P13.55 million in medical assistance given to patients.

She said a patient is given of up to P50,000 in medical assistance per year. “We try to accommodate every patient,” she said.

Providing medical assistance to patients is one of the two mandates given to them by President Rodrigo Duterte. The other one is to eradicate corruption within PCSO.

PCSO is also streamlining the process to make assistance accessible by putting up one-stop-shops in three hospitals in Mindanao.

In Davao Region, one-stop-shop desks are located at Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, Brokeshire Hospital in Davao City, and the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum, Davao del Norte wherein patients or their authorized dependents no longer go directly to PCSO offices to queue. And to educate the public on PCSO’s services, Solmerin said PCSO will be holding the STL forum on October 19. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)