CITY OF SAN FERNANDO ? Small town lottery (STL), the government?s antidote to ?jueteng? and ?masiao,? has not been earning much as it should because of continued operations of the illegal numbers games, an official of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO), said on Sunday.
?Admittedly, our STL agents are competing with illegal numbers games. That is why we are continuously asking for the cooperation of the police and communities to help stop the illegal games,? Romualdo Quiñones, STL project officer of the PCSO, said in a phone interview.
?Hindi masugpo-sugpo talaga daw. Jueteng pa rin ang kalaban nila sa Luzon. Masiao naman sa Visayas (The illegal lotteries have not been beaten. Jueteng is the rival in Luzon. It is masiao in the Visayas),? Quiñones said.
?Our agent-corporations need the support of law enforcement agencies because they lack the personnel to go after the bookies (illegal operators),? he added.
The PCSO, which holds the STL franchise, started the lottery project in February 2006. The biggest beneficiary of its proceeds is the government?s charity fund.
Quiñones gave the remarks when sought for reactions to the allegation of Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin, vice chair of the House committee on games and amusement, that local governments were not getting their proper shares owing to the ?very little? revenues that the PCSO had been drawing from the STL.
The PCSO remits 5 percent of gross sales to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Local governments hosting STL operations get 10 percent of net receipts while provincial governments are allocated 5 percent. The Philippine National Police gets a net share of 5 percent.
Lazatin raised the suspicion, citing the ?big discrepancies? between past revenues of jueteng and current gross sales of the STL. Seventeen STL agent-corporations made a total gross sales of P3.132 billion until March 2008, a report obtained by the Inquirer from the PCSO showed.
Quiñones said Lazatin was ?correct? when he said the PCSO was not meeting its projected gross sales. In the May 5 hearing, however, the lawmaker praised the agency for ?successfully meeting its objective of eliminating jueteng and providing livelihood to displaced cobradores (bet collectors).?
In ?two to three months,? the PCSO will be issuing handheld terminals to bet collectors so STL bettors can be issued official copies of tickets, Quiñones said. ?This is our concrete attempt at the PCSO to capture all the bets that should go to the STL.?
That plan, however, has long been in the works since January 2007, an informant at the PCSO said. From the time it was started until now, STL bets are written on sheets measuring an inch-wide and seven inches long ? the same sheets used for jueteng operations.
The yellow PCSO sheets stamped with ?PCSO? are merely shown to bettors and not used, reports said.