GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 July) – Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) units here and in South Cotabato province continued with their charity services in the wake of the closure of its gaming operations over the weekend on orders from President Rodrigo Duterte.
Misael Hamak, officer-in-charge of the PCSO-South Cotabato branch, said Tuesday their offices remain open to serve residents who need financial assistance from the agency for hospitalization and other related services.
He said the President’s stoppage order was only for their gaming schemes like lotto, Keno and small town lottery or STL.
“Based on the order from our central office, we will continue with our work on fund distribution despite the suspension of our gaming operations,” he said in an interview over local television program Magandang Umaga South Central Mindanao.
On Monday, Hamak said they issued at least 27 guarantee letters worth around P190,000 to patients who need medical assistance.
The agency already assisted over 4,000 residents from this city and the neighboring areas since January, he said.
The official assured that they will comply with the directives of President Duterte and PCSO General Manager Royina Garma.
The President ordered last Friday the stoppage of all gaming schemes run by PCSO due to “massive corruption.”
Hamak said their central office is currently in the process of appealing the President’s decision to facilitate the lifting of the suspension of their gaming operations, which is the source of its charity funds.
Citing their records, he said the stoppage order affected 45 to 50 authorized lotto and Keno outlets in the city alone.
He said the number of outlets and daily sales in the area vary, depending on which stations are open or online for the day.
In terms of STL, he said there are at least 110 betting stations operated by authorized agent firm Trento Gaming and Leisure Corp.
Such number was based on the ceiling imposed last year by the local government for STL stations within the city’s 26 barangays, he said.
But the city council’s committee on games and amusements had been protesting such figure as it reportedly monitored over 300 STL outlets in the city, mostly set up in sidewalks and local communities. (MindaNews)