THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has appealed to Congress to repeal their mandate on mandatory contributions to various agencies, saying it is hurting the agency’s charity fund.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said this is in response to the Commission on Audit’s (CoA) warning on the agency’s “questionable” transactions worth more than P10.17 billion intended for charity programs and medical assistance.
“We are appealing to the Congress to repeal our mandate on mandatory contributions because it is eating up our funds for medical service. ‘Wag naman ibawas doon pati sports, education, at fertilizer,” said Balutan during the Sama-samang Talakayan at Linawan media forum held at the Fort Ilocandia in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
“Let this be an eye opener to our legislators, unless laws are repealed, billions of pesos intended for health services will be siphoned by these mandatory contributions na hindi naman related sa health services.
“We cannot stop these remittances unless Congress repeals laws governing us to stop these mandatory contributions. Hindi namin pwedeng i-violate ‘yun eh. Hooked up kami sa sitwasyon. Nahihirapan din kami,” Balutan added.
PCSO is a principal agency tasked to generate funds for health services and programs of national character through lotto, digit games, Instant Sweepstakes, and Small Town Lottery (STL).
The PCSO Charter states that from the gross receipts generated from the sale of sweepstakes tickets, whether for sweepstakes races, lotteries, or other similar activities, the printing cost of such tickets is deducted to arrive at the net receipts.
Pursuant to Section 6, Republic Act No. 1169, as amended (PCSO Charter), the net receipts shall be divided into 55 percent (Prize Fund), 30 percent (Charity Fund) and 15 percent (Operating Fund).
The agency also provides funding support to various government agencies commissioned to receive part of the agency’s earnings.
As of second quarter this year, the PCSO has already released P71,452,785.50 to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) alone, which is one percent of Lotto’s gross sales.
As of last month, the total shares or obligations for mandatory contributions is P14,048,632,664.
From 1998 to 2017, PCSO has already released a total of P12.198 billion with an outstanding balance of P1.8 billion.
From January to June thsi year, the PCSO has released another P443 million and the agency outstanding balance is now at P1.8 billion.
“Lahat ng bagong ahensya ng gobyerno na ie-establish, nanghihingi ng funding from PCSO kaya dumami nang dumami ‘yan. Wala tayong magawa kasi batas ‘yan. Nakikita nilang pagkukunan lagi ng pondo ang PCSO at Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) kaya nagkakaganyan ang ating charity fund at prize fund distribution,” Balutan explained.
The 28 recipients of PCSO’s mandatory contributions are seven under Executive Order, 20 under Republic Act, and one under Commonwealth Act, including CHEd, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, National Commission on Indigenous People (Ancestral Domain Fund), National Museum, Department of Health, Overseas Worker Welfare Administration-Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program.
It also includes Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Information System on Migration, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Shelter and Urban Development Programs, National Endowment Fund for Children TV, National Book Development Act, Department of Justice, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operations, SARS Awareness and Prevention, local government units, PhilHealth, Philippine International Trading Corporation, Avian Flu Fund, Ligtas Buntis, Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines, Philippine Red Cross, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, National Council on Disability Affairs, Quezon Institute, and Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
Apart from the mandatory contributions, PCSO also pays taxes to the government.