Over 300,000 Small Town Lottery, lotto, and Keno lotto agents temporarily lost their livelihood following the order of President Duterte to halt all games and franchises sanctioned by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes pending investigation for alleged massive corruption.
As of June 2019, PCSO has 9,354 lotto agents and 2,902 Keno lotto agents. At the end of 2018, there are 300,000 STL organic employees, sales supervisors, sales agents, and sales representatives.
PCSO General Manager Royina Garma said yesterday the PCSO will appeal to the Office of the President for the resumption of the conduct of all the agency’s games.
Garma said that the PCSO board has directed compliance with the instruction of the President until further notice.
“Rest assured that PCSO shall appeal to the Office of the President for the resumption of the conduct of all games to PCSO’s mandate and for the interest of the PCSO, its agents, and its beneficiaries,” she said on Facebook live in the official Facebook page of PCSO.
Bettors with advance play tickets were advised by Garma to keep their tickets until further notice.
“To our valued customers, please be advised that our PCSO games are suspended pursuant to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte. All players with advance play tickets are advised to keep their tickets until further notice,” she said.
The State charity agency will continue giving medical assistance to people in dire need.
A source from the PCSO headquarters in Mandaluyong City said that there is no order for them to stop in giving medical assistance. Thus, employees will still go to work at the PCSO main office.
The PCSO main office and branches are open tomorrow to give assistance.
But the dilemma is when PCSO has used up all of its charity fund and where is the PCSO going to get funds to give to Filipinos in dire need of medical assistance.
The agency has 1, 679 personnel all over the country, the PCSO said.
From January to June 2019, the PCSO, through Individual Medical Assistance Program, provided almost P3 billion or P2, 816,760,148.11 to Filipinos in dire need of medical assistance nationwide.
The IMAP is a flagship program of the agency which was institutionalized in 1995 to provide timely and responsive financial assistance to individuals with health-related problems.
The PCSO said 30 percent of its lotto revenues go directly to the agency’s charity fund.
Two lotto outlets operated by Edmundo Ballaran in Sta. Ana, Manila closed yesterday in compliance.
Ballaran have been the operating lotto outlets in Manila since 1992, according to his live-in partner, Dianna Asis.
Asis said that the online system of PCSO was offline around 7 a.m. yesterday.
She said Ballaran filled out documents and paid P50,000 surety bond to PCSO.
“In 1992, the surety bond that my partner paid was only P50,000. From what I’ve heard, the surety bond is now around P100,000,” she said.
“I hope the President investigated first before he orders our closure. What will happen to our children now? How will we send our children to school now? ”she lamented.
Each of their outlets, Asis said, produce around P10,000 per day. “We are earning around P30,000 monthly. We are mainly relying on it.”
A winning Small Town Lottery bettor in Tacloban City was disappointed when he saw a “Temporary Closed” sign in an STL outlet in Barangay 99 where he was about to claim his P1,500 prize yesterday morning.
Archie Dacut, 40, said he won in last Friday night’s draw, and he allotted the prize money to pay the P1,000 he owed to pay his electricity bills.
“Nangutang pa ako pambayad ng kuryente namin tapos baka wala akong makuha,” he lamented while showing his winning ticket to Philippine National Police Western Visayas director Police Brig. Gen. Dionardo Carlos who led the closure of six STL outlets as early as 8 a.m.
Gwenda Requiez, records in-charge of Victoria Development and Ventures Corp. which owns the STL outlet, said they were ordered to put the sign and stop accepting bets after the President’s order.
VDVC is said to be the biggest STL operator in Tacloban with over 60 employees, excluding agents and supervisors.
Requiez assured their bettors that they may claim their prizes from their coordinators. (With a report from Marie Tonette Marticio)