DOLE urged to help to displaced PCSO Lotto workers
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Nancy Binay appealed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday to quickly extend assistance to workers affected by the closure of over 30,000 Lotto stations and gaming outlets nationwide.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered to stop 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.
Binay said DOLE could extend its “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers” program and help find work for the more than 120,000 workers affected by the shutdown.
“DOLE can step up and help. The staff of PCSO gaming outlets have families to feed, and it would be a big thing if the DOLE could give immediate assistance to offset the effect of their sudden unemployment,” Binay said in a statement issued in Filipino.
The DOLE program for displaced workers extends emergency employment for 30 days with a minimum pay of P300 per day — or around P9,000 per month.
Binay said she expected that the DOLE had started coordinating with the PCSO to track its outlets and the number of employees affected.
Meanwhile, oppositionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the President to go after corrupt officials who connive with jueteng operators in using PSCO franchises as fronts, instead of punishing ordinary people for the corruption of the agency.
“Why is President Duterte punishing ordinary people for the corruption of his officials?… Why is the President getting them dragged into the corruption and greed of his officials?” Hontiveros said in a statement, which was written partly in Filipino.
She noted that thousands of Filipinos rely on the PCSO for financial assistance in medical expenses. They also base their employment and livelihood on small Lotto operations.
Hontiveros urged the President to explain his “abrupt, yet serious allegations” to the public.
She also urged the President to lay out his policy on gaming operations with franchises and permits, especially the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), which she said was Chinese-dominated.
“I am worried that the President is setting double standards: Being heavy-handed against selected local licensed gambling operations such as the PCSO but lax and permissive towards Chinese online gambling ang jueteng,” she said.
The President should also “dump his fire-and-recycle” policy on public officials accused of corruption, Hontiveros said.
“No wonder there is massive corruption under President Duterte. The President tolerates it,” she said.
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