Simplify, privatize PCSO operations – Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines — To combat corruption within the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian proposed on Monday that the agency’s operations be “simplified” and “privatized.”
“My proposal is very simple: Let’s simplify the operations of PCSO; let’s privatize the operations of PCSO,” Gatchalian, speaking in Filipino, told reporters in an interview.
He said that the Department of Finance should only be a “collecting agent” and the money collected must be given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“The database of our poor countrymen are with [DSWD]. So it should be the one to help our poor countrymen,” the senator said.
Gatchalian said that this scheme would make it easier for the government to regulate the PCSO operations.
“It’s easier to regulate because the government will now concentrate on supervision, monitoring, regulation, collection,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a stop to all gaming activities of PCSO, including Lotto, due to alleged “massive corruption” in the agency.
As of Monday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has shut down a total of 30,824 PCSO-operated gaming outlets since Saturday, July 27.
For his part, Sen. Joel Villanueva gave his support for the President’s initiative to “look into” the matter.
“Our country is awash with gambling outlets — whether patronized by foreigners or by our countrymen,” Villanueva told reporters. “So with that, I would say I am supporting the call of the President to look into it… I think it’s about time we do something about it.”
According to him, the Philippines is the only country that is not only a regulator but also a banker in the gambling business.
Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, also called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and other concerned agencies to provide those displaced by the closure of PCSO gaming outlets with alternative means of livelihood.
“I am praying that we have a mechanism so that he could reach out to those who would lose their jobs,” he said.
“It’s either we profile them right away or we give alternative jobs. If they need retraining and retooling, we also have TESDA,” he added, referring to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
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