Senate Committee befuddled by PCSO ambulance farm-out
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee questioned on Monday the method used by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to choose the recipients of government-purchased ambulances, as they resumed their investigation into the alleged misuse by the PCSO of its funds.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero asked the PCSO to explain why rich provinces were provided with more ambulances than the poor ones. He cited the numerous ambulances PCSO gave to the provinces of Cagayan (17 units), Capiz (10 units), and Quezon (18) provinces.
Quezon province received less than 20 ambulances, and it was considered one of the top 10 richest provinces, said Escudero. He said poorer provinces like Zamboanga del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, and Northern Samar only got an ambulance apiece.
PCSO general manager Ferdinand Rojas II explained that the PCSO board decided to honor previous commitments by urging those who requested ambulances to produce documentary requirements.
Meanwhile, PCSO chairperson Margarita Juico said 221 ambulances left at the PCSO Compound were distributed immediately after she assumed office, as these had been exposed to the elements for almost a year.
She added that they had to depend on the list given to them by the past board. But she told the Senate that she checked for requests coming from the same province, and kept an eye out for provinces that had not received an ambulance in five years.
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