Despite increase in revenue, Pagcor grilled by Suarez, MagsaysayBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines—After the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) was lauded for its increase in revenues, lawmakers also grilled its officials over several issues, including its desire to compete with private gaming firms.
At one point during the House committee on appropriations hearing on the proposed P2.006 trillion national budget for next year, minority leader Danilo Suarez said his eyebrows rose when lawyer Jorge Sarmiento, Pagcor president and COO mentioned the agency’s desire to compete with private gaming firms.
Suarez said he was concerned that “a lot of people are losing their money.”
“When you make money, bettors lose money. Your purpose is to regulate and not encourage gambling,” he told Pagcor.
“There are perks and benefits that the private sector can have but we can’t do. Aminin natin, hindi natin kaya sabayan ang mga private (gaming firms), they have a free hand (in operations). Machiavellian yan, the end justifies the means,” the minority leader said.
Sarmiento said that despite wanting to be aggressive with competitors next year, they were being “hampered” by laws.
Pagcor chair Cristino Naguiat Jr. was grilled by Zambales Representative Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay over the controversial purchase of P8 million worth of mineral water.
“You accused (former Pagcor chair) Genuino over (the purchase of) overpriced coffee, yung (inyong) P8 million na mineral water dapat may public bidding,” said the lawmaker.
Naguiat answered their purchasing process was “decentralized” and that the mineral water in question was for several branches and were posted through the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System.
“It followed the procurement law,” the Pagcor chair insisted.
Pagcor told the committee that they expected a P6-billion increase in revenues this year which would result in total revenue of P42.64 billion. An increase of P2.6 billion more was also expected in 2013 which could result in P45.3 billion worth of revenue.