CLARK FREEPORT—The small-town lottery (STL) target of P27 billion set by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for this year is expected to fall short of its goal.
Florante Solmerin, PCSO deputy spokesman, said the STL collection nationwide from January to August this year is only P8.8 billion and won’t reach the target set by the PCSO.
However, Solmerin said the present STL collection of more than P1 billion a month tops the past administrations monthly collection of only P400 million to P600 million.
Speaking at the media forum “Balitaan”, organized by the Capampangan in Media Inc. (Cami) in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. at the Bale Balita last Friday, Solmerin said P3.9 billion out of the total STL collection was given to the Individual Medical Assistance Program (Imap) of the PCSO.
He added an automatic 30 percent of the profits from the PCSO lottery games go to charity funds, like the PCSO’s Integrated Health for Overall Productivity and Empowerment (IHope), Imap, ambulances and donations.
Solmerin said the PCSO had set a high target after assuming a nationwide STL operation.
But out of the 92 authorized agent corporations (AACs), only 73 are actually operating at present, he added.
AACs are authorized agents given authority to play and operate STL by the PCSO.
But even if all 92 AACs will operate, the PCSO will still fail to meet the target, he said. Another problem, he added, is that most of the AACs in operation cannot even meet their presumptive monthly retail receipts (PMRR).
This is now being remedied by PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge E. Corpuz and General Manager Alexander F. Balutan, he said.
Solmerin added the PMRR is a pledge of monthly remittance by the AAC and a prerequisite for approval of their authorization.
The approved AACs should comply with their PMRR, he said.
Solmerin added Pangasinan has the biggest STL operation in Luzon with more than P200-million monthly PMRR.
But they cannot remit the correct amount so the PCSO deducts from the cash bond of the AAC, which is the equivalent amount of its PMRR, he said.
If the cash bond runs out, then there is room for negotiations or the AAC will be changed, he added.
Solmerin said there is only one AAC per province and one per chartered city.
In Pampanga Suncove Corp. was given an AAC, while in Angeles City, the AAC belongs to the Lake Tahoe Gaming and Amusement Corp.
“Whether the incorporators of the AAC like it or not, they should remit their PMRR because that is indicated in the implementing rules and regulations [IRR],” he said.
Solmerin added among the approved AACs—but are not yet operating—are South Cotabato, National Capital Region (NCR) eastern district, Camiguin, Quirino province, Siquijor, NCR western (Manila), Kalinga, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Ifugao, Romblon, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur, Sarangani, Masbate, Cotabato City, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Cebu City.
He said if there is an STL operation in these areas, then these are illegal since the AACs are not yet operational, he said.
Those with no approved AACs are Apayao, Batanes, Biliran, Davao Occidental, Dinagat Islands, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Mountain Province Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Solmerin said four provinces identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission as the poorest provinces in the country are beneficiaries of the PCSO’s IHope. These are all in Mindanao—Sarangani, Sulu, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.
He said some P50 million was allocated by the PCSO to each province to buy medical equipment for their hospitals.
Solmerin added 2.5 percent of the total STL collection nationwide goes to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
From January to August, the PNP national, regional, provincial and local offices received P220 million from the PCSO’s STL operations, he added.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) national, regional and provincial offices also received their share from the STL profits, he said.
Solmerin added the remittances are in the form of manager’s checks that go directly to the PNP headquarters and CIDG headquarters, regional and provincial offices, as well as local, and remitted directly to their finance departments.
He said these are sanctioned by the Commission on Audit and requires proper liquidation.
The local government unit (LGU) share is remitted directly to the treasury of the provincial government, which is 1 percent and/or the municipal government which is three percent, he aed.
This is probably the reason most LGUs are not happy with the STL because the profit goes to the treasury instead of going to their pockets, he said. Congressmen also get their share of 0.75 percent from STL operations, he added.
Overall, PCSO lottery products, like Lotto, STL, Sweepstakes and Keno, profits from January to July this year is now at P28.77 billion, he said.
But still the PCSO is not satisfied, that is why the chairman and the general manager are pressuring the AACs and even warns them to submit their correct PMRRs, he added.
Solmerin said Corpuz and Balutan were appointed by President Duterte last year and assumed their post as PCSO chairman and GM, respectively, on September 14, 2016.