By the PCSO Reportorial Team
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) earned a total of P52,986,520,391.00 from its lottery games in 2017 under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Record-high po ito sa kasaysayan ng PCSO [This is a record-high in the history of PCSO],” said PCSO General Manager Alexander Ferrer Balutan and Chairman Jose Jorge Elizalde Corpuz. Balutan is a retired general of the Philippine Marine Corps and a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Matikas” Class of 1983, while Corpuz is a retired general of Philippine National Police and a member of PMA “Sandigan” Class of 1982.
From its P52.9 billion profit, PCSO paid as much as P7.79 billion in taxes to the national government.
The agency also remitted P903.2 million to the Bureau of Internal Revenue to settle the outstanding debts of previous administrations.
A P13.4-B increase
“Sa taong 2017, mas yumabong pa ang PCSO dahil ang kita nito ay tumaas pa ng P13,422,313,631.00 kumpara sa 2016. Walang labis, walang kulang po yan. Transparent tayo dahil ito ang panuntunan ng ating Pangulong Duterte [In 2017, PCSO flourished even more because it earned P13,422,313,631.00 more than its total revenues in 2016. No more, no less. We are transparent as it is the rule of President Duterte],” Corpuz said.
According to Balutan, last year’s total revenues is 33.93 percent higher than its P39.56 billion total earnings in 2016.
Of the figure, Lotto accounted for P31.85 billion (up by 10.74 percent from P28.77 billion in 2016), Keno (Lotto Express) at P5.35 billion (up by 24.04 percent from P4.39 billion in 2016), and Sweepstakes at P22.5 million (up by 80 percent from P12.5 million in 2016).
Small Town Lottery (STL) operations posted the biggest jump in revenues at P15.7 billion, or an increase of at least 143.68 percent from only P6.46 billion in 2016.
With these, PCSO managed to surpass its profit goal for 2017.
Balutan said the agency only aspired to collect P28.5 billion in Lotto and P4.9 billion in Keno.
“Sa STL, dahil pinarami natin ang Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) at pinalawak ang area ng operasyon sa ating bansa ay noong una pinangarap natin na makapagsulpot ng P27 billion. Pero sa test-run ng STL ay nakita natin na hanggang P18.3 billion lang marahil ang mararating (In STL, because we created more Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) and expanded the area of operation in our country, at first, we hoped to produce P27 billion. But we observed in the test-run of STL that we might only reach P18.3 billion],” Balutan said.
“At nakita naman natin, eto na at pumalo tayo sa P15.7 billion, short lang tayo ng P2.5 billion [And we can witness now, we have already hit P15.7 billion and we’re only short by P2.5 billion],” he added.
The PCSO Fund is not derived from the people’s tax through the General Appropriations Act.
“Ang pagkakaalam kasi ng marami ay mula sa GAA ang pondo ng PCSO. Hindi po. Ito’y galing sa boluntaryong taya ng mamamayan na tumatangkilik sa mga lottery game ng ahensiya, [What many surmise is that the fund of PCSO comes from GAA. It is not true. It is from the voluntary bets of the people who patronize the lottery games of the agency],” Balutan explained.
Though its budget does not arise from the GAA, the earnings of PCSO becomes part of the public fund. Balutan said the agency is still under the Department of Budget and Management in terms of monetary expenditures and subject to auditing by the Commission of Audit.
“Ang PCSO as nasa ilalim ng Office of the President at may sariling Charter ito, ang Republic Act No. 1169. Ang brand name ng PCSO ay charity, ibig sabihin, kawanggawa [PCSO is under the Office of the President and it has its own charter, Republic Act No. 1169. The brand name of PCSO is charity, meaning, kawanggawa],” Balutan said.
Of the funds generated by PCSO from its various lottery games, 55 percent is allocated to the prize fund, 15 percent to the agency’s operation fund, and 30 percent automatically goes to the charity fund.
“Ang pinakamahalaga po dito ay ang mapondohan ng PCSO ang programa ng ating Pangulo para sa libreng gamot at ospitalisasyon ng mga may sakit, pambili ng ambulansiya, tulong pinansyal para sa pabili ng gamot ng mga ospital na kailangang suportahan lalo na sa mga probinsiya. Iilan lamang ‘yan sa mga serbisyong kawanggawa ng PCSO [The most important here is that PCSO funds the program of our President for free medicine and hospitalization of the sick, procurement of ambulances, financial assistance for the purchase of medicine of hospitals that need support especially in the provinces. These are few of the charity services of PCSO],” Balutan said.
P60-B in 2018
“Ngayon pa lamang, dahil sa patuloy na paglobo ng kita ng natin sa nakaraang taon, sinisiguro ko na sa taong ito ay papalo ang kita ng PCSO sa P60 billion o higit pa [At this moment, because of the continuous escalation of our profit during the previous year, I am sure that this year, PCSO’s profit will reach P60 billion or more],” Balutan said.
Corpuz said newly-appointed Secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government, retired AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año, will work hand-in-hand with PCSO in executing the President’s campaign to make the country jueteng-free, pares-free, and swertres-free, in exchange for STL, the only legal numbers game in the country.
“Meron nang inisyal na pag-uusap sina Gen. Balutan at Gen. Año, mag-mistah o classmates naman sila sa PMA, hinggil sa mas pinatinding kampanya laban sa lahat ng klase ng illegal numbers game alinsunod sa Executive Order No. 13 o all-out war ng ating Pangulo. Nag-isyu na rin si Año na ang illegal gambling ang isa sa kanyang tutuldukan [There has been initial discussion between Gen. Balutan and Gen. Año – they’re mistahs or classmates in PMA – regarding the reinforced campaign against all kinds of illegal numbers game pursuant to Executive Order No. 13 or all-out war of our President. Año has declared that illegal gambling is one of the things he will end],” Corpuz said.
Stronger PCSO Board
As Chairman of the Board of Directors, Corpuz said that it has become stronger since the arrival of Atty. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, former congressman of Quezon City, and Sandra Cam, the President’s newly-appointed board members.
This is despite the accusations of Cam pertaining to alleged irregularities in the agency which the PCSO leadership has flatly denied.
“Kami’y nagpapasalamat sa pagdating nilang dalawa lalo na si Dir. Suntay na talaga naming agad na nakipag-upuan para alamin at matutunan ng mabilis ang kanyang tungkulin para makatulong at epektibong opisyal ng ahensiya. Nandiyan din si Dir. Marlon Balite na katuwang natin. At siyempre, ang ating napakasipag na si GM Balutan. Kung ano man itong ingay na nililikha ni Dir. Cam ay alam kong malalampasan din natin ito [We are thankful for their arrival especially Dir. Suntay who immediately sat with us to know and learn his role in order to help and (become) an effective official of the agency. There’s also Dir. Marlon Balite who supports us. And of course, our assiduous GM Balutan. Whatever noise Dir. Cam is creating, I know that we will surpass it],” Corpuz said.
Amid Cam’s persistent efforts to continuously rock the agency with baseless allegations, presidential spokesman Harry Roque has said that the President continues to have full trust and confidence in the leadership of Corpuz and Balutan.
“Sinisiguro ko po sa ating Pangulo na susuklian ko ng tapat na paglilingkod ang kanyang tiwala sa atin, kaya nga pinili tayo na maging Chief Executive Officer at General Manager ng ahensiya at katuwang nating ang liderato ni Gen. Corpuz sa board na dalhin ang ahensiyang kawanggawa sa tamang paninilbihan sa mamamayan. Eto po tayo, buong tapang na naninilbihan [I assure our President that I will repay his trust with loyal service as we are chosen to be the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the agency and we are supported by the leadership of Gen. Corpuz to the Board in leading the charity agency to the right service for the people. Here we are, bravely in service],” Balutan said.
Corpuz, however, has already tendered his resignation, citing health problems as reason for leaving the PCSO.
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