Mandatory contributions hit hard on PCSO’s charity fund

Published July 23, 2018, 10:19 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Freddie Lazaro

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan revealed in a press conference last week here that the mandatory contributions to various government agencies have hurt the agency’s charity fund.

Alexander Balutan
(Photo by Joseph Vidal)

“We are appealing to the Congress to repeal our mandate on mandatory contributions because it is eating up our funds for medical service. ‘Wag naman ibawas dun pati sports, education, at fertilizer,” said Balutan during the Sama-samang Talakayan at Linawan media forum held at the Fort Ilocandia in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

This is in response to Commission on Audit’s (COA) warning against the agency over its “questionable” transactions worth more than P10.17 billion intended for charity programs and medical assistance.

“Let this be an eye opener to our legislators unless laws are repealed, billions of pesos intended for health services will be siphoned by these mandatory contributions na hindi naman related sa health services,” said Balutan.

“We cannot stop these remittances unless Congress repeals laws governing us to stop these mandatory contributions. Hindi namin pwedeng i-violate ‘yun eh. Hooked up kami sa sitwasyon. Nahihirapan din kami.”

PCSO is a principal agency tasked to generate funds for health services and programs of national character through lotto, digit games, Instant Sweepstakes, and Small Town Lottery (STL).

The PCSO Charter states that from the gross receipts generated from the sale of sweepstakes tickets, whether for sweepstakes races, lotteries, or other similar activities, the printing cost of such tickets is deducted to arrive at the net receipts.

Pursuant to Section 6, Republic Act No. 1169, as amended (PCSO Charter), the net receipts shall be divided into 55 percent (Prize Fund), 30 percent (Charity Fund) and 15 percent (Operating Fund).

The agency also provides funding support to various government agencies commissioned to receive part of the agency’s earnings.

As of 2nd quarter of 2018, PCSO has already released P71.4 million or P71,452,785.50 to be exact for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) alone, which is 1 percent of the gross sales of Lotto.

As of June 2018, the total shares/obligations for mandatory contributions is P14,048,632,664.99. From 1998 to 2017, PCSO has already released a total of P12.198 billion with an outstanding balance of P1.8 billion.

From January to June 2018, PCSO has released another P443 million and now the agency has an outstanding balance of P1.8 billion.

“Lahat ng bagong ahensya ng gobyerno na i-e-establish eh nanghihingi ng funding from PCSO kaya dumami ng dumami ‘yan. Wala tayong magawa kasi batas yan. Nakikita nilang pagkukunan lagi ng pondo ang PCSO at PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) kaya nagkakaganyan ang ating charity fund at prize fund distribution,” revealed Balutan.

The 28 recipients of mandatory contributions of PCSO, seven of which are under Executive Order, 20 under Republic Act, and one under Commonwealth Act, include CHED, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, National Commission on Indigenous People (Ancestral Domain Fund), National Museum, Department of Health, Overseas Worker Welfare Administration-Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program.

It also includes Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Information System on Migration, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Shelter and Urban Development Programs, National Endowment Fund for Children TV, National Book Development Act, Department of Justice, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operations, SARS Awareness and Prevention, local government units, PhilHealth, Philippine International Trading Corporation, Avian Flu Fund, Ligtas Buntis, Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines, Philippine Red Cross, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, National Council on Disability Affairs, Quezon Institute, and Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

Apart from the mandatory contributions, PCSO also pays taxes to the government.

As of January 2018, the agency is paying P1 billion a month for the taxes. Last year, the agency paid P14 billion for the arrears and penalties of the previous years.