Illegal gambling operations in various part of the country have taken a toll on the earnings of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office that would have been used to help provided medical assistance to Filipinos, according to PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz.
He said the PCSO is losing 30 percent of its potential income from Small Town Lottery (STL) to illegal gambling.
Corpuz said authorized agent corporations (AACs) are having difficulty meeting their presumptive monthly retail receipts (PMRR) obligations, thus affecting government revenues.
During a Senate hearing last Tuesday on the proposed creation of the Philippine Charity Office (PCO), some AACs complained that illegal gambling continues to flourish in their areas of operation preventing them from fully meeting their obligations to the government.
There are 72 AACs currently operating all over the country that provided a revenue increase for PCSO amounting to P8.8 billion from January to August.
One of the AACs, Ramloid Corp., which operates in Laguna, which reported that it is only collecting P4 million daily from STL operation because about P1.2 million was lost to illegal gambling.
Lucky V Prime Enterprises Corp., an AAC from Albay, is supposed to remit to PCSO P2.5 million daily but only managed to meet 70 percent of its PMMR in August, also because of the continuous operation of illegal gambling in its area of operation.
Similar cases have been reported in the provinces of Batangas, Bulacan, Negros Occidental and Pangasinan.
The continued operation of illegal gambling was raised earlier by PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan who called on Philippine National Police leadership to address the issue.
“We have to face the illegal gambling crisis, and double our efforts in the conduct of operations against illegal gambling to arrest syndicates, particularly those who are using STL as a front to cover their illegal business,” Balutan said.
He said legitimate STL collectors should be arrested if they ran illegal bookies in their areas of operation.
“The PCSO, together with our STL AACs hopes to finally eradicate the jueteng, which seems to be the biggest challenge of STL operations,” Balutan added.