Earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) will be set aside for health and education.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte made the promise in his speech at his thanksgiving party in Davao City on Saturday, saying his top priority is to “realign the money [from Pagcor]to health, then to education. “
“I will commit all the earnings of Pagcor, which runs into billions… to hospitals for medicine and hospitalization,” he added.
Duterte said he would also allot part of the Pagcor money to education, aiming to solve the problems of students and teachers.
He cited an “aberration” created because of K-to-12 program, which adds two years to the elementary and high school system.
“There is a problem now… an aberration created because of the K-to-1 [program]. Now you have 700 students who cannot enrol… maestras [teachers]who are marginalized,” the incoming President said.
Duterte added that he wants to give more access to education to students who live far from their schools in rural areas.
“[For] education, I will endeavor to build national high schools,” he said. “No need to walk 30 kilometers to go to school, ako mismo magdala ng eskuwelahan [I will bring the schools to the students],” he said.
Duterte added that he would take time to sit down and talk to incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones about the problem.
“Maraming problema [Many problems] and I don’t know… I have to sit down almost everyday. I cannot solve the problems when I am there. Magiging inutil ako [I will be useless]. [But] I need to do it,” he said.
In 2014, Pagcor earned gross revenues of P39.98 billion.
According to the Pagcor annual report in 2014, the national government received 35.40 percent or P14.15 billion from the state-run gaming agency.
This represented half of the mandated government share from Pagcor earnings, becoming part of the national budget appropriated every year for various projects.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE