LAST week was a most productive—and energetic—one for the board of directors of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which visited Panay Island for several agency-related activities.
Last Wednesday PCSO Directors Betty B. Nantes, lawyers Mabel V. Mamba and Francisco G. Joaquin III, and I visited Roxas City, Capiz province, where we met Gov. Victor A. Tanco and Vice Gov. Nonoy Contreras.
We turned over to them three checks: the first, for P131,914.27, the share of Capiz from the PCSO’s Lotto game for the January-to-June 2014 period; the second, for P447,228.24, Roxas City’s Lotto local government unit (LGU) share, also for the same period; and the third, for P6,780,372, as the “Pamaskong Handog ng PCSO” to Roxas City from the agency’s special fundraising from the Lotto held last Christmas to benefit areas damaged by Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).
The recently opened PCSO branch in Capiz is at the Provincial Capitol building. Its manager is Jose Emmanuel Villagracia. We thank Tanco and other local government officials for providing the PCSO with the rent-free office space, thus, making it more
convenient for people of the province to avail themselves of the agency’s services and products.
At the turnover ceremony, Tanco said, “We thank [the] PCSO…for bringing this Christmas gift and pasalubong. You can be sure these checks will go to the poorest of the poor, because it is [our] intention to bring [the] PCSO closer to the people.
“I can testify,” he added, “that [the] PCSO has done so much for the province of Capiz…. I placed the PCSO office [near the entrance of the Capitol building] so people can go straight to [the] PCSO. We have been asking for [the PCSO to open this branch] office for so long, and now it is a dream come true.”
Also in Roxas City, we presented Sr. Manileña Libo-on and Cristina Sarmiento of Saint Anthony College Hospital with a check for P204,000 as financial assistance for seven patients.
Last Thursday we were in Kalibo town, Aklan province, to inaugurate the PCSO Aklan branch, which is headed by Branch Manager John Martin Alipao. The new office is in a building within the Provincial Capitol compound, also in an easily accessible location, thanks to Gov. Florencio T. Miraflores, Rep. Ted Haresco and Vice Gov. Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo.
While in Aklan, we turned over a total of P1.87 million that represents the Lotto revenue shares of the province and 16 municipalities from January to June 2014.
Last Friday we visited Iloilo province for the blessing of the PCSO branch there, which was transferred to a rent-free office space at the Iloilo Provincial Sports Complex, thanks to Gov. Arthur Defensor, who graced the ceremony.
Also with us were Rep. Jerry Treñas and Mayor Jed Mabilog of Iloilo City, who celebrated his birthday on September 20.
Mamba, Nantes, Joaquin and I also turned over to the local government officials there financial assistance amounting to over P9.3 million. This includes the “Pamaskong Handog” share of Iloilo province, worth P5.87 million; the January-to-June 2014 Iloilo City LGU Lotto share of a little over P1 million; and an endowment fund of P1.5 million to West Visayas University Medical Center, represented at the event by Dr. Ramon Guerra Jr., the chief of the hospital. The Lotto shares of various municipalities make up the rest of the amount.
The local government officials and staff work in coordination with PCSO Iloilo Branch Head Cedric Recamara to bring the agency’s services and products to the people of the province.
In his speech at the event, Defensor said, “We are confident…that [the] PCSO [will] help the poor and needy. That’s what [the] PCSO stands for…. The province of Iloilo is thankful for [the PCSO’s] support…[and for this] partnership that, we intend, [shall] endure.”
For his part, Mabilog said, “We encourage everyone to support [the] PCSO [by way of its games]. PCSO, thanks for helping the province and city of Iloilo. You don’t know how much you [helped us], and we hope [that] this will continue.”
With the opening of its Aklan branch, the PCSO now has 40 branches, from an initial 25 when we, the current board of directors, assumed office in 2010. We started opening branches in 2012 and have managed to open 15, so far, with more to open until 2016.
We hope to open a branch in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte province, within the year, while others, including the provinces of Antique, Catanduanes and Marinduque, are in the pipeline. Our priority is to open branches in remote areas, especially the underserved locations in the Visayas and Mindanao.
In line with President Aquino’s policy of universal health care for all Filipinos, the PCSO is doing its part to make its medical- and health care-related programs more accessible to the public, whom it serves.
These events are even more
memorable and significant as they happen this year, the 80th anniversary of the PCSO’s founding.
Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II is the vice chairman and general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.