Bong Go urges Pagcor, PCSO to maximize public resources to support PH healthcare, sports programs
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his support for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during a public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement on Wednesday, September 21.
In a manifestation, Go commended Pagcor for its commitment to nation-building, especially its vital contribution to the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.
“It was one of the government agencies recognized by former president Rodrigo Duterte for helping ease the plight of millions of Filipinos who were gravely affected by the health crisis brought about by the pandemic,” noted Go, who serves as vice chairman of the committee.
“Naalala ko noon, parati niyang tinatawagan ang Pagcor, lahat ng finance managers noon, na tulungan kaagad ang ating… to produce money, lalung-lalo na sa panahon nung umpisa ng pandemya,” he added.
(I remember before, he frequently called Pagcor, all of the finance managers there, to help produce money, especially during the first year of the pandemic.)
The senator cited that in 2020 and 2021, Pagcor remitted a total of P44.53 billion to the government through its mandated contributions and other corporate social responsibility programs.
He added that Pagcor worked tirelessly and diligently to meet its revenue targets, which positively impacted the resources for the government’s social services program.
Go also thanked the PCSO, including its chairman, Junie Cua, saying, “Sir, salamat po, masaya po ako na na-appoint ka bilang Chairman. Very capable, very competent po. Kapang-kapa ninyo na po yung problema, lalung-lalo na po sa gobyerno.”
He likewise expressed gratitude to the PCSO for its commitment to supporting the Malasakit Centers program.
“Isa po sa apat na ahensya na bumubuo sa Malasakit Center ay ang PCSO. It’s mandated by law. Isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo, sir, tulungan po natin yung mahihirap po. Yung mga helpless, mga hopeless, yung mga walang matakbuhan,” said Go.
“Nakikita naman natin yung buong Pilipinas, pumipila po yung mga kababayan natin. Madaling-araw pa lang po sa PCSO, humingi po ng financial assistance pang-medisina. Nakapila po yan diyan sa baba ng inyong mga opisina. Tulungan po natin silang mapabilis ang assistance kaagad sa kanila, dahil hindi naman po pupunta satin yung mga kababayan nating mahihirap kung hindi sila nangangailangan ng tulong,” he added.
Go, the main proponent of the Malasakit Centers program, principally authored and sponsored the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 — earning him the appellation of the “Father of the Malasakit Centers.”
The centers are one-stop shops for all government medical assistance programs, bringing together the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PCSO, and PhilHealth under one roof, making it convenient for particularly poor and indigent Filipinos to access medical care.
“Wag lang po natin pahirapan, bilisan natin maibalik sa kanila ang pera po ng gobyerno. Remember, pera po ng gobyerno yan, ibalik po natin sa mga kababayan nating mahihirap, lalung-lalo na sa mga nangangailangan,” urged Go.
“Kung dati, nabanggit ko na yung Malasakit Center, kung dati po kailangan pa nilang pumila sa mga iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, madaling araw. Ngayon po nasa iisang bubong, nilagay na po sa loob ng ospital yung PhilHealth, PCSO, DOH at DSWD para doon po magtulung-tulong. Para po ito sa mga poor and indigent patients, hanggang sa maging zero balance po ang kanilang billing,” he added.
He then requested the officials and representatives of PCSO to see to it that the Malasakit Centers assist all Filipinos.
“‘Yun lang po ang pakiusap ko sa PCSO, paki-check lang po yung mga lahat ng Malasakit Centers. […] Dahil wala naman pong pili ito, basta Pilipino ka po, qualified ka humingi ng tulong diyan sa Malasakit Centers,” urged Go.
“Muli, salamat po sa PCSO, lalung-lalo na sa inyong charity fund. Marami na pong natulungan ang PCSO dahil mayroon naman kayong tinatawag na charity fund,” he added.
During the hearing, Go also urged Pagcor to utilize its resources to support grassroots sports development in the country. He noted that, under Republic Act No. 6847, the law that created the Philippine Sports Commission in 1990, Pagcor is mandated to remit five percent of its gross income to the PSC’s National Sports Development Fund.
The fund covers PSC’s plans and initiatives, including support for national sports associations and athletes for training and international competition.
Go noted that the persistent problem of Pagcor’s under-remittance to PSC was discussed at a hearing held by the Senate Sports Committee last week.
“Hindi po daw na-reremit ng buo ng Pagcor iyong 5% gross income sa PSC na required sa ating batas – parang wala pa sa 2.5% ang naibibigay,” remarked Go.
The senator added that he would like to focus on the promotion and progress of the national sports development programs in the country in his capacity as chair of the Senate Committee on Sports. He, therefore, urged the agency to make the most of its funding to support related initiatives.
“Kailangan po ng sapat na suporta ng ating mga atleta simula pa lang sa grassroots level. Ibuhos po natin ang pondo na nararapat para sa kanila,” said Go.
He also stressed that promoting the development of the country’s sports program is one way of continuing the campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.
“Gusto ko po ipagpatuloy yung kampanya na labanan yung ilegal na droga, kriminalidad at korapsyon. Isa sa mga paraan ay ang pag-eenganyo ng ating kabataan to get into sports and stay away from drugs,” said Go.
“Suportahan po natin ang ating mga atleta, nakikita po natin na pag may suporta galing sa gobyerno ang ating mga atleta, malayo po ang kanilang nararating, lalung-lalo na po yung mga started from the grassroots level. Suportahan po natin sila,” concluded the senator.
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