Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Alexander Balutan announced that the agency has already hit its P55-billion initial target for the month of October, and is confident that it will surpass its P60 billion before the year ends.
“As of January to October, our gross sales is already at P54.8 billion, which is 27% higher compared to the same period last year. When we say overall, that is combined Lotto, Keno, Small Town Lottery (STL), and Instant Sweepstakes,” said Balutan.
Last year, PCSO initially targeted P55 billion, but it was adjusted to P60 billion due to the roll out of STL. It also strengthened Lotto products nationwide.
“Like I always say, figures don’t lie. This is a proof that PCSO is and has always been on the right track in meeting its revenue target or more by the end of this year,” added Balutan.
In a data from the office of Arnel Casas, officer-in-charge Assistant General Manager for Gaming, Product Development and Marketing Sector, it reported that Lotto was the highest earning product with P27,987,584,260 gross sales, which is 5.13% higher compared to the same period last year.
It was followed by STL with P21.9 billion sales, Keno with P3,899,533,950 sales, and Instant Sweepstakes with P958,364,000.
“We are confident that we will once again break our sales records and hit the P60 billion sales by the end of this year. And this is because of the phenomenal sales brought about by the record-breaking jackpot prize that reached P1 billion for the Ultra Lotto. Its promotion, popularity, and public acceptance also helped other online lotto games to increase sales for the months of September and October. STL sales is also unprecedented for this period,” explained Casas.
Balutan likewise credited the growing sales from the Expanded STL operations being operated by Authorized STL Agents (ASAs) nationwide.
“Second highest earning product ang STL That’s why very aggressive tayo sa ating campaign against illegal gambling, especially ‘yung mga jueteng, swertres, at pares. Only PCSO is authorized by the government to operate. Tangkilin natin ang authorized numbers games sa ating mga probinsya para makatulong tayo sa paglago ng ating pondo,” said Balutan.
PCSO Charter, or RA 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated to 55% for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30% for charity fund (various charity programs and service) and 15% as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).
PCSO opens new branch in Aklan
Meanwhile last November 12, Balutan led the inauguration of the new and 66th PCSO Branch Office in Aklan.
“This new building is a clear manifestation that PCSO will not leave Aklan. Meaning, we are here permanently in Aklan. You can easily reach us. We constructed this building to widen our reach and help more people,” said Balutan.
Aklan Branch is the second PCSO-owned building in Visayas region located at Capitol Subdivision, Estancia, Kalibo. It will have a daily IMAP (Individual Medical Assistance Program) allocation of P150,000.
The event was also attended by Nonoy Macahilig, representative of Aklan Congressman Carlito Marquez; Remeliza Gabuyo, Assistant General Manager for Branch Operations Sector of PCSO; Engineer Federico Damole, Visayas Department Manager; Esel Flores, Sangguniang Panlalawigan member and representative of Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores; representatives of the Governor; and other PCSO officials and employees.
Before he assumed as PCSO General Manager in 2016, Balutan recalled that PCSO had only 52 branches, now it has 66 with the recent opening of three new branches in Surigao, Cavite City, and Maguindanao province.
On the daily P150,000 IMAP allocation of Aklan, Balutan assured the people of Aklan that the agency will give that all to the Aklan patients.
“Uubusin natin ‘yan sa mga pasyente na taga-Aklan. I just don’t know if we can increase that allocation, but we have the Universal Health Care (UHC) program, which was started by our President [Rodrigo Duterte],” he added.
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.
“’Yan yung prinsipyo na gustong mangyari ng ating Pangulo ang magtutulong-tulong ang lahat ng ahensya para sa mga kababayan nating hindi makabayad sa hospital, at minsan hino-hostage pa,” he said.
“This is a priority bill, by the end of this year, baka maging batas na ito. So lahat ng ating kababayan na humihingi ng tulong medical ay wala ng balance billing,” added Balutan.
Also by the end of the year, Balutan revealed that PCSO intends to open three more branches in Saranggani province, Agusan, and Guimaras.
“Overwhelmed kami sa pagpapatayo ng building [na ito] kasi napakaganda. Iaayos namin ang COB [Command Operating Budget] namin and we will include the constructions of new building – mga P50 million a year. It will be a standard edifice, depende sa laki ng province or lawak ng natutulungan ng PCSO,” revealed Balutan.
Balutan shared that his only vision before was to hit P50 billion, but now the agency is targeting P60 billion due to the roll out of STL and strengthening of Lotto nationwide.
“This is the direction of PCSO – to help some more and touch lives lalung lalo ng mga kababayan nating nasa laylayan nang sa gayun ay mararamdaman nila ang presensya ng ating gobyerno sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Duterte, and of course, maramdaman dito sa Aklan ang presensya ng kanilang local government officials,” he said.
“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, pares. Only PCSO is the authorized by the government to operate,” reminded Balutan.
Accordingly, reports reaching Balutan that illegal numbers game is still rampant in Aklan. Although jueteng and STL have the same mechanics, the former is illegal, while STL is a regular game by PCSO authorized by the national government through Section 1 of Republic Act 1169.
While 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.
“Lagi kong sinasabi na tangkilikin natin ang mga authorized numbers game sa probinsya nang sa gayon ay mapapaigting natin ang pangangalap ng pondo para sa charity fund. ‘Yun yung idea nun. Yetbo Gaming Philippines Corporation is the only authorized STL agent in Aklan,” concluded Balutan.
The agency’s Charity Fund helps pay for free hospitalization and medicines of indigent patients and other medical services such chemo and dialysis treatments, among others.