The evening of Friday last week felt like a nightmare for many persons and families looking to receive charitable medical finance aid, as well as aspiring millionaires looking to get rich quick. That had been the time when the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte declared all operations and licensed franchises of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office shut down, an order enforced over the weekend. The charge against the agency was “widespread corruption,” but that flew over the despairing charity beneficiaries and the everyman looking to get lucky. Even legislators think closing PCSO entirely as overkill. Perhaps that is why the Lottery, at least, is back.
CNN Philippines reports that President Rodrigo Duterte has dialed back on his sweeping verbal order against the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) by allowing their Lotto outlets to reopen. The announcement was made Tuesday, July 30, by his spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who noted that the decision was made under advice of the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. According to the statement read by Panelo, it has been concluded that, as Lottery games are wholly machine operated with instantly printed tickets, corruption by human interference was less likely to occur. There was also a humanitarian reason added.
“As per the advice of Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, the suspension of lotto operations has been ordered lifted by the President,” noted Panelo yesterday. He then echoed the general public sentiment regarding this particular branch of PCSO operations, adding, “Many people depend on lotto.” And much like the original order from July 26 to close everything, this reopening of lottery outlets across the country took effect immediately after announcement, though the results would not be seen until this Wednesday.
However, just because PCSO Lotto is back in business does not mean the rest of the agency’s activities are off the hook. Still barred from resuming operations are the smaller-scale gaming franchises such as the Peryahan ng Bayan and the Small-Town Lottery. This continuing shutdown will remain in effect while the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) does its investigation on alleged corrupt practices within the PCSO and its licensees. Their final fate will only be determined after the results of the investigation are forwarded to the Office of the President.
Some 30,000 licensed outlets of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office were closed over the weekend in pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal order. Thankfully, a number of employees who lost work because of the shutdown can now get back to their routine if they operate lotto gaming machines. Senator Sonny Angara thanked the President for lifting the ban on lotto, noting that 40% of the revenue for the Universal Healthcare Law comes from Lotto proceeds.
Image courtesy of Inquirer.net