PCSO clueless on actual revenue from STL
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Tuesday admitted it had no knowledge of the actual gross sales of its small town lottery (STL) program which was handled by 30,000 to 40,000 operators from all over the country, thereby depriving it of much needed revenues.
In a budget hearing of the House appropriations committee, PCSO General Manager Joey Rojas disclosed that only 7,000 STL operators accurately reported their sales to the PCSO.
Some STL operators did not use the PCSO handheld machines to record their sales, he said.
“The PCSO is blind on total gross sales of STL,” said Rojas upon questioning by Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares.
Colmenares said there could be hundreds of millions in unreported revenues from STL operations.
Rojas said the PCSO management would address such loophole with the launching of the “Loterya ng Bayan,” an automated system which seeks to replace the STL.
The STL was implemented by the previous PCSO board in a bid to kill the illegal numbers game “jueteng” and to lure its bettors by making the STL legal.
According to Colmenares, the PCSO contracted in 2007 the use of handheld STL machines to record the gross sales of STL per kubrador (collector).
“Since only 7,000 handheld machines were being used by STL kubradors all over the country, PCSO did not know if the gross sales reported by the operators were true,” Colmenares said.
He urged the PCSO board to cancel the contract with any STL operator who refused to use the handheld machine or any machine that will record the actual sales.
He said that while the poor and the sick were getting measly amounts in medical assistance, the PCSO was losing billions because of the lack of transparency in STL operations.
Colmenares also found it irregular and anomalous that STL operators take charge of distributing funds directly to the beneficiaries.
He said the gross sales of STL must be remitted by the operators to the PCSO and PCSO should be the one distributing these to the beneficiaries.
“The operators have no legal personality to disburse funds to the PNP, LGUs and other beneficiaries,” Colmenares said.
“The previous administration, because they did it for nine years and got away with it, developed the impunity syndrome,” he stressed.
Colmenares said the President and his Cabinet would be untrue to their commitment against corruption if they failed to build strong cases against these erring officials.
In the same hearing, Rojas formally apologized to the congressmen whose names were erroneously included in a newspaper report as having received their shares of the STL operations.
“The PCSO regrets the publication of the names of congressmen who did not get. The list did not come from us. Our apologies to you,” he said during Monday’s hearing of the House committee on games and amusement conducted by Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing.
PCSO Chairman Margie Juico also said PCSO Board Member Aleta Tolentino said that congressional districts with STL operation were entitled to 2.5 percent share of proceeds from STL; city or municipal governments, 10 percent; provincial government, 5 percent; and the Philippine National Police, 5 percent.
Bagatsing said that since the STL was still experimental, there was no provision for liquidation by the recipients of the STL funds.
Rojas said the PCSO was reviewing the system of allocating ambulances to districts and local government units so those who need them get them regardless of political affiliations.
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