AS it turns 80 this year, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) continues to provide unwavering service to the Filipino people.
The PCSO is the principal government agency mandated by law to raise and provide funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, to the poorest, and conduct charities of a national character.
It does its primary mission of generating funds for health programs and charities of a national character through the PCSO sweepstakes races, lotteries, and similar activities.
Among the PCSO’s charity services are Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP), Endowment Fund Program, Financial Assistance to Institutional Partners, Facilities Upgrading, Medicine Donation and Medical Equipment Donation.
The IMAP covers requests for hospitalization, dialysis, medicines, chemotherapy drugs, laboratory/diagnostic procedures, wheelchair, hearing aid, and implant/prosthesis of citizens throughout the archipelago.
It also provides outpatient consultation, medicine donation, ambulance conduction of indigent patients, assistance to victims of calamities and national emergencies and patient assistance through endowment funds.
Undoubtedly one of the most effective means of pursuing the agency’s commitment to the people is charity through free medical and dental services.
Initially serving its officials and employees, referrals and walk-ins, the PCSO Charity Clinic’s services have now expanded to include depressed barangay in Metro Manila to as far as Sorsogon in the South and Isabela in the North.
A total of 26 outreach missions were conducted during the first year of the program. Since 2001, 117,001 medical patients and 28,292 dental patients have benefited from these undertakings.
The Out-Patient Clinic Department of the PCSO renders services from Monday to Friday to thousands of indigent patients at the PCSO Dental and Clinic Department at Gate 6, City Hall, Kalayaan St., Quezon City.
The clinic department offers the following services: free consultations, minor surgeries, ambulance conduction of patients; and emergency care as well as referrals.
It also undertakes community outreach projects in Maternal and Child Health and Primary Health Care.
Starting with just two institutional beneficiaries—the Philippine Tuberculosis Society and Hospicio de San Jose—the PCSO now has a long list of beneficiaries that include the Red Cross, Blood Bank, National Mental Hospital, Boys’ Town in Marikina City, Missionaries of Charity in Cebu, Golden Acres, and Tala Leprosarium.
Also PCSO beneficiaries are the Commission on Family Life in Laoag City, Bacolod Boys’ Home in Negros Occidental, Dominican Missionaries’ Stela Maris Nursery, Leprosarium in Zamboanga City, Daughter of Mary, Mother of the Church in Naga City, nutrition centers, rural health clinics, government hospitals and many others. There are more than 8,000 beneficiaries.
The PCSO also provides funds—as required by special laws—to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Commission on Higher Education (Ched), Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter and Urban Development Financing Program, Dangerous Drugs Board, National Endowment Fund for Children’s Television.
The National Museum’s Endowment Fund, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Fund, National Book Development Fund, Department of Justice-Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are also financed by the PCSO.
PCSO also gives a share of lotto revenues to host municipalities and cities. From July to December, 2013, PCSO released P232.62 million to local government units (LGUs).
The agency has also been giving assistance to victims of calamities and tragedies.
During the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos, the PCSO was mandated to undertake a very important mission: to support government’s rehabilitation program for the areas devastated by the Mount Pinatubo eruption.
Since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the PCSO has released P400 million as direct assistance to the victims and to the various Pinatubo-related programs of the Office of the President.
In the Ormoc disaster, the PCSO shelled out P48.5 million to the affected families apart from the financial assistance given to the community.
In the lloilo fire disaster, victims were provided financial assistance amounting to P1.5 million.
In the Ozone fire tragedy of March 1996, which claimed the lives of over 150 people and injured close to 200 persons, most of them students, the PCSO also came to the rescue by providing the families of the victims with financial, funeral and medical assistance amounting to more than P6 million pesos.
During the first four years of the Aquino administration, PCSO acting chairman and general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas 2nd, said, the PCSO board has implemented several reforms in the operations of the agency.
These reforms made PCSO more efficient in providing medical and health assistance to the less privileged members of the society.
“We were able to institute reforms in the agency by streamlining operations, upholding transparency and eradicating corruption,” said Rojas.
Most important he succeeded in introducing and implementing a more judicious spending of PCSO resources to make sure that funds are properly spent.
Since the PCSO is mandated by law to raise and provide funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, Rojas was able to increase the agency’s revenues, surpassing targets.
“We increase our revenues through more innovative ways and enhancing our gaming activities for us to expand our charity services in order to bring service to our kababayan,” he said.
In fact, when the current Board assumed office in 2010, it added 15 more PCSO branches, now totaling 40 and the opening of more branches is under development.
Truthful to its mandate, Rojas explained that PCSO allocates 30 percent of its revenues to charity fund, 55 percent to prize fund and only 15 percent to operating fund.
Its share of lotto revenues to host municipalities and cities also increased to P232.62 million from July to December of 2013.
Rojas revealed that the agency is now paying taxes on time as it already paid P16.95 billion from 2011 to June 2014.
In extending its services to the people, PCSO established satellite clinics in several areas, rehabilitated rural health centers in 5th and 6th class municipalities and upgraded medical equipment in public hospitals.
It also established Tahan-Tahanan project, a temporary housing shelter for pediatric cancer patients from the provinces, at the East Avenue Medical Center.
For its 2014 Institutional Partnership Program, PCSO donated P8.14 million to at least 15 non-government agencies (NGOs), welfare and charity institutions.