THE P6-million Christmas party for the employees of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was “appropriate,” and served as a “morale booster” for them, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said Tuesday.
Balutan said the expense was justified, as the hard work of about 1,500 employees resulted to P1.87 billion in sales for the PCSO-sanctioned Small Town Lottery (STL) — a 103.96 percent increase from the sales in the same month of 2017.
“The employees worked hard for this. Besides, our employees are also poor. They also have a right to enjoy sumptuous meals and an air-conditioned room,” Balutan said.
“Considering the situation, I would say the amount is appropriate. It was a morale booster for the employees,” Balutan added.
The PCSO employees celebrated their Christmas party at the five-star Edsa Shangri-La.
Balutan also cited that the budget was above board because the PCSO Board of Directors approved it.
But for Rep. Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, P6 million was just too much to be spent for a party.
“Do you really need a party costing that much? Can’t you consider austerity? If you want to commend your employees, then why not give them the money instead?” said Pimentel, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability during Tuesday’s investigation on the P6 million Christmas party by PCSO.
“This cannot pass propriety and much less legality,” Pimentel added.
President Rodrigo Duterte defended the P6 million PCSO Christmas party on December 2017, saying that the state-run charity organization deserved it for doing its job well. LLANESCA T. PANTI