Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan announced on Sunday that the agency is on standby to release its calamity fund once assessment has been made by the local government units.
Balutan revealed that during calamities, PCSO, through its 64 branches nationwide assesses first the exact situation in the area, people and families that were affected, and their needs in coordination with local government officials, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and regional rescue teams, to avoid duplication.
“Every year, PCSO allots P100 million for calamity fund. But some of the budget were already given to the victims of Mayon Volcano eruption, Typhoon Vinta and fire victims. We cannot determine for now the exact amount to be released. It would depend on the assessment in the area,” explained Balutan.
For the first semester of 2018, PCSO has already released P48,456,500 financial assistances to individuals and families affected by natural and man-made calamities.
Of P48.4 million, P35 million were given to the Province of Albay during the Mayon Volcano eruption, P5.4 million for Region XI and P5 million for Province of Palawan, both during the Typhoon Vinta; and the rest for the fire victims in Quezon City, Paranaque City, Cebu City, Samar, Manila, Malabon City, and Navotas.
In 2017, PCSO released P11.5 million financial assistances; P4.5 million of which were given to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)/ soldiers during the Marawi Seige, P5 million for the Province of Biliran and P2.5 million for other provinces in Region 8 (Samar and Leyte) both for Typhoon Urduja victims.
When Cagayan Valley was hit by Super Typhoon Lawin (International Name Haima) in October 2016, Balutan shared that 2,000 sacks of rice were distributed by PCSO and the OCD.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) is primary office monitoring the rising number of casualties; while other government units involved are Department of Health, DSWD, and local government units also help to assure that assistance will be given to calamity victims and/or evacuees.
Balutan stressed that in terms releasing of funds, the agency does not entertain individuals going to PCSO asking for calamity assistance.
However, if the individual was injured or hospitalized because of a calamity or disaster, he can go to the nearest hospital and request for medical assistance through PCSO’s Individual Medical Assistance Program or IMAP.
IMAP does not cover doctor’s professional fees and room rates, only medical procedures, medicines, or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rates. Requirement includes latest hospital billing to determine how much assistance PCSO can give.
Balutan assured that PCSO is always ready to help people in need especially in times of disasters and calamtiies.