Recto wants full government audit on Pagcor funds
MANILA, Philippines–Senator Ralph Recto has filed a bill amending the Charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to allow full government audit of its revenues, income and expenditures.
Under the present Charter of Pagcor, government audit is limited only to the 5 percent franchise tax and the 50 percent net government share of winnings.
“The public finds itself unapprised of the financial status of Pagcor. With the limited coverage of the audit as mandated by the existing Charter, there is no transparency in the utilization of the funds Pagcor generates,” Recto said in his explanatory note of Senate Bill No. 2915.
“Moreover, the funds of PAGCOR is considered an off-budget item and not included among those evaluated during public hearings on the General Appropriations Bill, hence it is devoid of any Congressional scrutiny,” he said.
The state-gaming firm has been in the spotlight after it filed a series of criminal complaints against its previous management for alleged misuse of the agency’s funds such as financing partisan activities in the previous elections, and failure to allocate and remit the mandatory contributions to beneficiaries.
Aside from full government audit, Recto also proposes that the 50 percent share of the government Pagcor’s aggregate gross earnings should be allocated to fund the basic education program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“This allocation shall provide the much needed funds to meet the current and future demands of the public elementary and secondary schools, in terms of classrooms, equipment, educational materials, and the like,” said the senator.
“With this measure, the funds generated by Pagcor shall be infused to the budget of the DepEd, in order for the latter to provide quality education in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide,” he said.
At present, the 50 percent share of government from Pagcor is allotted for infrastructure and socio-civil projects within the Metropolitan Manila Area like flood control, sewerage and sewage, nutritional control, population control, among others.
Recto believes, however that the provision of funds for DepEd would further enhance the Basic Education Program, thereby benefiting more than 22 million students in the public schools nationwide.
And in order to promote transparency, the senator said the allocation would be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) as part of the DepEd’s budget.
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