PCSO, small lottery operators meet on rules revision

MANILA The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's (PCSO) board members met with Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) from all over the country to assess and discuss some revisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Small Town Lottery (STL).

The consultative meeting held Tuesday also seeks to address issues and problems concerning the shortfalls of STL operators in their Presumptive Monthly Retail Receipt (PMRR). A total of 83 AACs are actively playing STL in the country.

Dr. Alex Castillo, consultant to the Office of the Chairman, said 43 operators have revealed why they were having a hard time paying their PMRR in general.

Some of these problems were high PMRR, presence of bookies, lack of police support, politics, and local government unit intervention, peryahan ng bayan or illegal gambling activities, number of draws, agent's commission, logistics, natural and man-made calamities, holidays, TRAIN law, and prize fund winnings.

Earlier, some critics have accused the PCSO of allegedly short-changing the government due to the shortfalls in the AACs' payment of PMRR.

In response, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan presented a proposed IRR revision to the AACs to answer the problems presented by the operators, and in a way will make them and the agency meet halfway.

We want to help them so we are revising and improving the IRR. But we must remember, they signed a contract with us, with the government. They should follow that first. The new proposed formula is not yet applicable to the AACs who haven't paid their shortfalls. This shall be implemented upon the payment of their shortfalls and renewal of their contracts or for new applicants. This won't be the basis to pay for their shortfalls, explained Balutan.

The proposed IRR revisions, which were presented by Ted Quiano, Pinili's chief of staff, include changing the name of PMRR to Guaranteed Minimum Monthly Retail Receipt (GMMRR) and replacing STL Monitoring Group to Advisory Committee that will supervise and monitor operations in the provinces and oversee the efficiency and effectiveness of STL operations and provide recommendations.

There will also be a proposed minimum and maximum (realistic) GMRR. If they fail to remit in two months, they will be terminated, said Balutan.

It also outlined minor and major violations with corresponding fines and penalties, such as not wearing proper identification card (ID) and uniforms, non-submission of required reports (annual/monthly), failure to pay required cash bond within the required period and needs to be replenished, and non-submission of STL proceeds.

A Monitoring Task Force shall also be organized for operations in the provinces and regions with one personnel each in the National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, apart from personnel from the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence and Detection Group, and other supporting agencies.

There will also be stricter screening of incorporators to address the issue of people using STL as 'jueteng' fronts. We will make sure that incorporators are not involved in drugs or any illegal activities or drug syndicates, said Balutan.

The PCSO will let the AACs continue operating/playing, but they have to pay the shortfall from the previous formula they signed up to a certain period, or else, they will be terminated.

That's our business deal. Pinirmahan nila 'yun (They already signed it). Risk na ng company 'yun (It's the company's risk now). Gumawa na kami ng paraan para mabayaran nila 'yung shortfall with this (proposed) formula (We already came up with ways for them to be able to pay their shortfall). Otherwise, we have no recourse (but) to terminate you. Business po ito (This is business), reminded Balutan.

Once the Board approves the proposed IRR revisions, it shall be submitted to Malacanang.

AACs have suggested the holding of quarterly consultation to encourage healthy discussions and harmonious relationships.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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