PCSO games suspension not diversion from vetoed SOT bill

MANILA MalacaAang on Monday dismissed critics' claims that President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to stop all gaming activities at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was to divert attention from his move to veto the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reiterated that stoppage of gaming activities was part of the President's mandate to curb corruption within the PCSO.

He said the Chief Executive would reveal the names of officials or employees involved in corruption in due time.

We'll have to wait for the President. He is thoroughly investigating the corruption and as he said, in due time, we'll name them. Do not be impatient, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate earlier challenged Duterte to expose officials involved in alleged "massive corruption" at the PCSO to dispel skepticism that stoppage of all gaming activities was just a diversion from Duterte's move to veto the SOT bill he certified as urgent.

Panelo defended anew the vetoing of the bill to ensure that the interests of both workers and employers are protected.

Tandaan po natin na kailangan mo ng negosyo para magkaroon ng trabaho ang mga manggagawa. Kung ipapatupad mo ang present bill na hindi pinirmahan ni Presidente, eh magkakaroon ng dislocation iyong maliliit na enterprises na hindi pa kayang ipatupad iyon (Let us remember that we need businesses so that our workers can have jobs. If we implement the present bill not signed by the President, there would be a dislocation of small enterprises who cannot implement it), he said.

Moreover, Panelo said since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, hundreds of thousands of employees have been regularized.

PCSO workers to be given assistance

Panelo, meanwhile, assured displaced PCSO workers that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will help provide them with necessary assistance.

He earlier assured Filipinos in need of medical assistance of aid from the Office of the President (OP) or the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) following the stoppage of PCSO operations.

The President's spokesman also expressed confidence that operators and other workers would not be greatly affected by the shutdown of gaming activities, noting the resiliency of Filipinos tested by calamities and other setbacks.

I'm sure yung mga naapektuhan, hindi naman sila ganun kahirap. Marami naman silang kinita during those times na they were operating, so I'm sure meron silang pondo to live by (I'm sure those affected are not that poor. They have earned a lot during the times they were operating so I'm sure they still have funds to live by), he said.

Do not underestimate the human spirit of Filipinos. Pag may dumarating na storm o anumang sakuna o anumang mga bagsak sa ating buhay, nakaka-ahon naman tayo. Yan ay pansamantala lamang (In the face of storms or other calamities that come into our lives, we are able to get by. That is only temporary). The President wants to rid massive corruption and he has to do something about it, he added.

In times of difficulty, Panelo said workers could rely on their creativity to easily think of other ways to get by.

Mas magaling ang mahihirap doon sa may mga kaya kasi mga mahihirap sanay sila sa hirap so mas creative sila kesa sa mga taong nasanay na mabuhay sa kayamanan (The poor are better at thinking of ways to get by because they are used to being poor so they're more creative as compared to those who are used to living in wealth), he said.

Panelo also discouraged Filipinos from shifting their attention to illegal gambling activities, such as jueteng, noting that it would cause more problems.

Seek mayors' help

To hasten the process of seeking medical assistance, Panelo urged the public to approach lawmakers and other local government officials to make referrals to the OP or Pagcor to prioritize their needs.

Yung mga local officials, sila ang dapat na pangunahing tumulong to refer them to us. Kumbaga sila ang connect, sila ang link kasi kung sarili nilang mga ordinaryong mamamayan, mahihirapan (These local officials, they should be the first to help them by referring them to us. They will be the link to us because ordinary citizens will have a difficult time), Panelo said in an interview with reporters after the briefing.

Itong opisyal makakatulong ng malaki sa kanila, kasi sila mismo yung magre-refer e di mas madadali. Di na sila kailangan pumunta dito saMalacaAang at saan man (These officials will be a big help because if they make the referral, it will hasten the process. They won't need to go to MalacaAang or elsewhere), he added.

Panelo reassured the public that government will not discontinue the provision of medical assistance. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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