In a bid to be an arm of the government to protect and aid millions of Filipinos—especially the less fortunate and most vulnerable communities in the country—Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Royina M. Garma announced that the agency has released over P3 billion to aid the government in its fight against the invisible deadly disease, COVID-19.
Early in March, the PCSO Board of Directors approved the amount of P420 million as the agency’s COVID measures and assistance to the government. The amount was turned over to Philhealth in order to help the government health insurance agency in shouldering the cost of hospitalization of COVID-19 patients.
This was followed by the approval P447 million as financial assistance to 82 government hospitals across the country. The financial assistance aims to augment the financial capability of the beneficiary hospitals in catering to COVID-19 patients. The coverage of the assistance is specifically limited to COVID-19 cases and shall be utilized for testing kits, reagents, medical / diagnostic equipment, confinement, medicines, laboratory/diagnostic procedures; and Personal Protective Equipment.
In order to capacitate government hospitals with Malasakit Centers in Metro Manila, PCSO released P4.2 million as additional daily fund allocation to the Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine General Hospital, Rizal Medical Center, and Taguig Pateros District Hospital.
Aside from the financial aid to the government and patients, the Agency also extended in kind assistance such as food packs, alcohol, disinfecting solutions, and masks to some units of the Philippine National Police in Manila and in Davao.
Also, to ease the burden of our frontliners in commuting in times where mass public transport is not available, PCSO lent one of its shuttle services to ferry frontliners along the route of Ortigas. At the same time, one ambulance unit was also lent to the quarantine station at the World Trade Center in Pasay City to transport COVID patients
Pursuant to Republic Act No. 1169, under Republic Act No. 7656 (RA 7656), dated 9 November 1993— an Act Requiring Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCC) to Declare Dividends Under Certain Conditions to the National Government, and for other purposes— the PCSO took the initiative to release in advance its dividend payment amounting to P2.2 billion to the Department of Finance so that it may be used by the government in fighting COVID-19.
GM Garma said that in these trying times, “It’s crucial that we all work together with other government agencies to help minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on health systems, social services as well as economic activities.”
“Although, the Agency has no revenue for more than two months, this will not stop PCSO from doing its best to make sure that it will come to the aid of our government and the public. That is why when this is all over, I am calling on the public to donate to PCSO by continuously playing Lotto, STL, Keno, Sweepstakes, Scratch-it games,” Garma added.