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PCSO aiming for newer ISO certification

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By Mylene C. Orillo

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan

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Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is currently gearing for a newer ISO certification that is risk-based and taking into consideration the context of the organization.

“ISO certification gives confidence to our public that we have strict implementation when it comes to our draw procedures, that their bets are really there, and they have equal chances of winning. It also gives us the chance to be at par with other gaming counterparts all over the world,” said PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan.

PCSO is currently certified under the ISO 9000-2008 Quality Management System Certification by third-party auditor TUV Rheinland Philippines on March 30, 2016 for the conduct and management of the Online Lottery Draws and processing of Prize Claims amounting to P5,000 and above.

“When we say draw procedures, it is not just the actual drawing of the winning numbers, but also the data center, which includes the actual conduct of draw, broadcast of the lotto draws, and of course the handling of ticket themselves,” explained Aimee C. De Viterbo, Officer-in-Charge-Manager for Gaming Technology Department.

PCSO has maintained that certification for the past three years. At present, ISO 9001 standard has a newer version which is 9001:2015.

“The difference is that the current version is already risk-based and would take into consideration the context of the organization, whereas in the 2008 version, one can choose the core processes for standardization,” said De Viterbo.

Apart from the core processes of the Gaming Technology, Accounting and Budget and Treasury Department, the ISO standards are also applied to all support processes provided by the agency’s various departments which include the Legal, Human Resources, Asset and Supply Management, General Services, Information and Technology, Corporate Planning and Data Security Division.

“It doesn’t mean na ipina-certify natin ‘yung draw procedures and prize claims lang eh ‘yun lang ang ina-audit. Inaudit din ‘yung entire office, lahat ng may link sa processes na ‘yun kasama s’ya sa audit. On the Gaming side, we will also include the Cebu Data Center and the Product and Standard Development Department (PSDD) in creating game designs,” added De Viterbo.

Since the agency will be transitioning from the 2015 version, ISO certification will take into consideration the context of the organization, which is to raise and provide funds.

“Wala na tayong problem sa raising [kasi ‘yun na ‘yun sa draw]. ‘Yun sa providing, ‘yun ‘yung mag-i-incorporate tayo ng processes under the Charity Sector and ‘yung ipapa-certify natin is out-patient services (of the Medical Services Department, including our medical missions. ‘Yun ang addition,” said De Viterbo.

Aside from all these changes, the agency will also implement Luzon’s standard processes in Visayas and Mindanao.

Kailangan kasi i-improve muna natin ang processes before we introduce change eh. Kasi improving itself is already a change. Marami kaming mga documents na kailangang palitan. Pinaka-mahirap kasi i-sustain ‘yung i-nintroduce mong changes,” said the newly appointed manager.

PCSO is member of World Lottery Association and most of the gaming industries are WLA members and ISO-certified. Some are even WLA-standard, and right now, PCSO is working also on being WLA-standard.

“Before we get the WLA standard, we need to be ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified. After we get ISO 9001:2015 version, we can endeavor in getting ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISMS),” she said.

ISMS is a framework of policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical, and technical controls involved in an organization’s information risk management processes.

Executive Order No. 605 directs all departments and agencies of the Executive branch, including all government-owned and/or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFSs) to adopt the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems as part of the implementation of a government-wide quality management program.

No new games for PCSO; focus on increasing sales revenues 

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will not be introducing a new game this year, instead it will revitalize and enhance instead its existing games to increase sales revenues.

This was announced by PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan in response to the new Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law affecting the lottery winnings and sales revenue of the agency.

“We have to innovate our strategies to enhance our existing lottery games such as Lotto in connection with Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. So, we don’t see the need to introduce a new lottery game at this time although this is part of our strategy to increase our revenues,” Balutan said.

Effective April 1, 2018, a final tax of 20 percent shall be imposed on Small Town Lottery (STL) prize winnings exceeding P10,000 due to the implementation of Republic Act 10963, otherwise known as the TRAIN law.

The 20-percent rate shall be computed on the basic of the full amount of the prize winning. The imposed 20-percent Final Taxes on the prize winnings shall be remitted daily to PCSO.

A separate “Summary of Winners” subjected to the 20 percent Final Tax shall be prepared on a weekly basis and be submitted every Tuesday by all STL-Authorized Agent Corporations to PCSO.

A consolidated report of the “Summary of Winners” shall likewise be prepared on a monthly basis and be submitted within five days following the end of every month.

The 5-percent Prize Fund Tax shall no longer be remitted to PCSO in lieu of the Final Tax.

‘PCSO is bleeding’

“The introduction of the TRAIN law is very challenging for PCSO because right now, we are already bleeding. Ang laki-laki na ng taxes kaya very challenging siya on how you will implement the law at the same time,” said Aimee De Viterbo, Gaming Technology Department Officer-in-Charge in an interview.

She added that her department and the Gaming Sector have started discussing strategies to innovate the games.

Under the TRAIN law, a 20-percent tax will be imposed on winnings of more than P10,000 from Lotto, Keno, Small Town Lottery (STL), Sweepstakes, and other PCSO products.

However, it removed the corporate tax exemption on the charity agency.

Apart from the Corporate tax, PCSO pays the Documentary Stamp tax and Prize Fund tax which increased from 5 percent to 20 percent.

De Viterbo said that while the sales of lottery and other number games were not yet affected of the TRAIN law, that is because PCSO has not yet fully implemented the changes.

In fact, Lotto sales and other games posed a 2.81 percent increase with reported overall sales of P5,384,844,980 in January and February compared to the sales of the same months last year.

“Hindi man lumiit ‘yung ating bettors, ‘yung capacity to play bumaba. Before, they used to play P30, tatlong taya na ‘yun. Nung ginawa nating P20, isang beses na lang. Hindi na siya makadalawa kasi ‘yun lang kaya niyang i-spend sa lotto,” said De Viterbo.

PCSO is currently studying how to balance the new tax law and how they can effectively implement it that will benefit both stakeholders.

“That’s why we are bleeding because we are shouldering everything except for the tax being imposed on the lottery winnings. Kapag ipapa-shoulder naman natin sa bettors natin ‘yung documentary stamp tax, from P20.00 magiging P24 siya. Eh ‘yung migration na lang namin from P10.00 to P20.00 medyo lumiit,” de Viterbo said.

In a formal survey conducted in 2005 in Zamboanga City, De Viterbo said they asked about 100 respondents if they are willing to play lotto if the P10 play will be lowered.

“They answered yes. It was followed by how much are they willing to spend? To which they answered P5.00 at that time,” she said.

“If you estimate that today, siguro mga P10.00 na lang ang kaya nilang i-spend. But that depends maybe on the area, some areas are poor,” she explained. “It is our only hope that the Congress will repel the law to exempt PCSO from tax.”

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan listens intently to Gloria Mayo as she asks for financial assistance for her newly born grandchild who is in the hospital in Taytay, Palawan

Lotto and other digit games

At present, PCSO has five Lotto games, which includes Super Lotto 6/49, Mega Lotto 6/45, Ultra Lotto 6/58, Grand Lotto 6/55, and Lotto 6/42.

The minimum jackpot prize is P50 million for Ultra Lotto, P30 million for Grand Lotto, P16 million for Super Lotto, P9 million for Mega Lotto, and P6 million for Lotto 6/42.

De Viterbo, however, reminded the betting public to keep their tickets even if they didn’t get all six numbers correctly and always check their tickets as it may win other consolation prizes.

“For example, for the Ultra Lotto 6/58 game, if the player got five out of six numbers, he/she can win up to P280,000; four out of six winning numbers wins the player up to P3,800; and getting three winning numbers wins the player P20.00,” explained De Viterbo.

All jackpot prizes are pari-mutuel, which means those holding winning tickets divide the total amount bet in proportion.

Apart from Lotto, players can also choose from other Digit Games, namely EZ2 Lotto, Suertres Lotto, 4-Digit, 6-Digit, and Keno.

To play EZ2 Lotto, a player will choose two number combination from 1 to 31, and if his chosen numbers match, the winning combination drawn for that particular draw, he wins P4,000 per-ten-peso-play.

For a “rambol” system play, a player wins P2,000 per-ten-peso play.

As for Suertres Lotto, a player wins the 1st prize of P4,500 per-ten-peso-play if his three numbers from 0 to 9 matches the winning combination.

For a “Rambolito 3” system play, a player wins P1,500 and “Rambolito 6” wins P750 per-ten-peso play.

For 4- and 6-Digit games, cost per combination is P10.00, but the minimum guaranteed amount for 4-Digit is P10,000 per-ten-peso play. The 6-Digit’s First Prize Pool amount starts at P150,000 per-ten-peso play. If the first prize is not won, its prize pool is snowballed for the next draw.

Lastly, Lotto Express (Keno) is PCSO’s fastest Online Lottery Game that involves multiple daily draws. Maximum jackpot prize per game is P10 million and maximum total winnings per draw is P75 million.

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