Small Town Lottery (STL) operations continue to prove its effectiveness in fund generation next to Lotto products as it already registered a whopping P21.9-billion gross sales from January to October.
“Our strategic objective when we expanded our STL operations is to eliminate all forms of illegal numbers games such as jueteng, masiao, swertres, pares, peryahan ng bayan, among others. Many gambling financiers have migrated to STL and now paying the right taxes to the government, providing funds for health programs and charity services,” Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan said.
As of January to October, he said the gross sales of PCSO from all its lottery products is already at P54.8 billion, which is 27 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
“We are very happy to announce that STL is really earning and it is one of the second highest-earning products of PCSO, next to Lotto. Of course, this will not be possible without the concerted efforts of our expanded STL agents, including our 67 branch managers nationwide who have carried our strategic objective to promote STL games in the province. Napalaki po natin ito sa pagsisikap ng ating mga masisipag na empleyado ng PCSO na pataasin ang ating revenue,” Balutan proudly said.
STL is a regular game by PCSO authorized by the national government through Section 1 of Republic Act 1169; while Authorized STL Agents (ASAs) are corporations or cooperatives duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with the Cooperative Development Authority, respectively, that applied, been duly qualified and expressly authorized by the PCSO to conduct STL in a particular area.
According to Assistant General Manager Remeliza Gabuyo of the Branch Operations Sector, there are 82 STL operators nationwide.
Since expansion, the PCSO board had terminated 12 ASAs but approved 15 new agents.
Under the STL charity fund sharing scheme, revenues accruing to STL will be divided as follows: city or municipality, 10 percent; provincial government, 5 percent; congressional district, 2.5 percent; and PNP, 5 percent.
“We generate funds for charity services of the country, health programs of national character. That’s our mandate. We do not get anything from the national coffer. We earn our funds through gaming. Ang tawag po dito ay hindi ‘gambling’, kundi ‘gaming’,” said Balutan.
PCSO Charter, or Republic Act No. 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated as follows: 55% for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30% for charity fund (various charity programs and services), and 15% as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).
“Kasi 30% ng taya niyo for example sa P20.00, ‘yung P6.00 directly goes to charity fund. We must remember PCSO serves more than 1,500 patients everyday nationwide. Sa Lung Center [of the Philippines] pa lang, mga 700 patients per day na. As early as 3:00 am marami ng nakapila d’on. That’s how PCSO helps through our 67 branches nationwide,” he explained.
Balutan, however, revealed that the number of patients seeking financial assistance from PCSO kept on increasing.
“Napakaraming humihingi ng tulong sa PCSO, ngayon dumoble na! This year, na-exhaust na natin ‘yung ating budget na P6 billion from January to September. ‘Yung quarter report natin nung September exhausted na po. Dumating pa yung Universal Healthcare (UHC) bill, which is still being deliberated at the Congress,” he said.
The Senate Bill 1896 or “UHC for Filipinos Act”, which was passed on third and final reading by the Senate on October 10, is seeking to give all Filipino access to health care coverage and services. The landmark bill, approved by 14 senators, seeks to grant every Filipino, even non-contributors to Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), access to “quality and affordable health goods and services.
To provide funding, it will pool contributions from state-owned gaming companies such as PCSO and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), and other government agencies.
“Ang PCSO ay mag-ko-contribute ng 40% mula sa 30% ng charity fund. More or less P6 billion yearly. Kaya sinisikap natin magkalap ng pondo sa ating gaming. Alam nyo naman ang produkto ng PCSO. Last time, umabot P1 billion ang ating pa-jackpot [sa Ultra Lotto] kaya talagang tumabo ng husto ang kita ng PCSO,” said Balutan.
“Sana matupad ‘yun, pero hindi ito mangyayari kung hindi natin kikitain. That’s why very aggressive tayo sa ating campaign against illegal gambling especially ‘yung mga jueteng, swertres, at pares. Tangkilikin natin ang mga authorized numbers game sa probinsya nang sa gayon ay mapapaigting natin ang pangangalap ng pondo para sa charity fund,” he added.