With the expected increase in number of Small Town Lottery (STL) authorized agent corporations (AACs), officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) expressed confidence of hitting its P55 billion revenue target this year.
An AAC is a corporation or a cooperative duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) that has applied, been duly qualified, and expressly authorized by the PCSO to conduct STL in a particular area.
AACs are the only entities or persons authorized to operate and conduct STL in their areas of operation. They are engaged to assist the PCSO in the implementation of the STL.
As much as 16 AACs are targeted to be put up this year. For this month alone, the PCSO board has already approved the establishment of six AACs, according to PCSO Assistant General Manager for Operations Remeliza J. Gabuyo.
At the sidelines of the PCSO roadshow event held last April 28 in Lipa City, Batangas province, Gabuyo said that with the addition of the six approved AACs, total STL operations would reach 87 this year.
She likewise said that PCSO intends to set up 10 more AACs for a nationwide spread. “The PCSO still has 10 areas not covered by AACs.”
Gabuyo further mentioned that, “it’s standard operating procedure that in case there is no AAC for an area, it’s automatic that we call on interested parties to apply as an authorized agent.”
PCSO General Manager Alexander F. Balutan revealed that the revenue target of PCSO this year is nearly 18% higher than its 2017 goal of P46.62 billion.
Balutan said this was a very welcome development, adding that, “with more revenues generated by the PCSO, more funds will be available to support its various projects.”
He added that his would translate to “more Filipinos served by PCSO, especially those in need of medical assistance.”
In the first three months of 2018, the PCSO generated P15.98 billion in revenues, about 27.84% higher than the P12.5 billion registered in the first quarter of 2017.
“Figures don’t lie,” Balutan said, underscoring the fact that the agency’s 28.24% higher revenue for the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, “is proof that the PCSO is on the right track in meeting its revenue target by the end of 2018.”
In the first quarter of 2018, Lotto and other digital games accounted for P7.8 billion of total revenues. STL generated P6.1 billion in revenues, while Keno and instant sweepstakes earned revenues totaling P1.4 billion and P663 million, respectively.
STL sales registered the highest revenue increase, accounting for 38% of total revenues or P3.28 billion, some 14,2% higher than the P2.87 billion recorded in the same period last year.
With impressive revenue figures, it didn’t take much for PCSO to reach out to more and more beneficiaries through its Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP).
Assisted individuals for the first three months of 2018 increased by 34% or 120,356 patients nationwide, compared to 89,755 patients served in 2017.
PCSO was likewise able to disburse over P440 million to local government units (LGUs) with existing STL operations. The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), for their part, received P187 million.
On top of its role as the nation’s ultimate super charity agency, PCSO is also dead serious in battling illegal gambling—a constant challenge to its operations.
“If you don’t monitor the AACs it may become illegal,” said Ted Quijano, head of the STL advisory council. That’s why we are enforcing stricter monitoring in terms of choosing AACs to eliminate the illegal ones from the list; to make sure that there will be no criminal offenses, tax evaders, or those involved in drugs.”
Quijano mentioned that PCSO is proposing revisions to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the STL in the hope of eradicating illegal gambling.
PCSO officials said that the 20% tax imposed on lottery winnings under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law may discourage bettors from patronizing Lotto and STL.
“For the lotto, all winners receiving prizes above P10,000 are subject to a tax of 20%. Below P10,000 is tax-exempt. Of course, if you will compare the price winnings of lotto against STL, the STL they can bet as low as P1, so the winners seldom hit the P10,000 prize mark. For lotto winners, their winnings really decrease because of the TRAIN law,” said PCSO Assistant General Manager for Operations Remeliza J. Gabuyo.
The TRAIN law imposes a 20% tax for lotto winnings reaching P10,000 and above. It was signed by President Duterte in December 2017 and the law was implemented starting January 2018.
Gabuyo admitted that TRAIN’s provisions really affected lotto sales. “It’s not only the 20% tax on price winnings, but also the increase in DST [documentary tax stamp] from 10% to 20%.”
She added that PCSO continues to coordinate with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and will submit a position paper soon. (Arquibel Charmine)