PCSO, Malasakit Centers to continue giving medical aid to poor
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Malasakit Centers will continue providing medical assistance to the poor despite the President’s order to shut down the agency’s gaming operations, according to Sen. Bong Go.
Go, who chairs the health committee, said the PCSO already had a budget for its operations this year, and this included funds for medical assistance to the poor.
He also said other agencies were involved in the Malasakit Centers, one-stop shops where poor people can ask for financial assistance from government agencies.
These agencies include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Go said.
“As of now, these are not affected. The assistance provided by the Malasakit Centers all over the country continues,” Go told reporters.
In Legazpi City, Nelly Loyola, PCSO manager in Albay province, said on Monday that she had received word from the agency’s headquarters in Manila that all PCSO offices would continue extending medical assistance to the poor.
Charo Loilo, PCSO social welfare officer, said about 1,000 people in Albay were seeking medical assistance from the agency every month.
On Sunday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Office of the President had discretionary funds that it could use to help poor people in need of medical assistance.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. could also provide medical aid to the poor, Panelo said.
On Monday, Sen. Nancy Binay said the Department of Labor and Employment should provide emergency assistance to some 120,000 workers displaced by the closure of PCSO gaming stations.
Binay said the labor department could put those workers on its program for the displaced, giving them work for 30 days and paying them P300 a day.
The department said it was ready to help the displaced lotto workers, although it had yet to receive applications. —WITH REPORTS FROM JOVIC YEE AND MAR S. ARGUELLES
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