THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Thursday denied reports that it has a rift with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) over its new number game “Bingo Milyonaryo.”
“There is no rift between PCSO and DILG,” said PCSO Vice Chairman and General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas 2nd in a statement.
Rojas issued the statement in response to reports that there is a conflict between PCSO Chairman Margarita Juico and Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 3rd over the new PCSO game.
He also denied that President Benigno Aquino 2nd directed PCSO to turn over supervision of the game to DILG and that it refused to surrender documents related to “Bingo Milyonaryo.”
The DILG on May 22 asked the PCSO Board of Directors for the documents so that DILG could “complete the review of the government’s policy on anti-illegal numbers games.”
But Rojas clarified that Bingo “Milyonaryo” was not operational at the time.
To ensure that the documents would be received only by authorized persons, Juico asked DILG to appoint a point person to handle the request because in addition to the letter, PCSO also received other requests from different DILG personnel.
PCSO complied with the DILG request on June 6, submitting the Bingo Milyonaryo documents to two DILG lawyers.
To avoid miscommunication with the DILG, Juico, Rojas and PCSO Directors Mabel Mamba and Betty Nantes visited Roxas on June 19 at his office, where they were graciously welcomed.
During the meeting, Roxas delegated a point person to liaise with PCSO on the “Bingo Milyonaryo” and its other games.
PCSO took the opportunity to reiterate their request to DILG for assistance in suppressing the operations of illegal numbers games in the provinces where the PCSO is not operating their games.
The meeting ended with PCSO and DILG ensuring mutual support to achieve common objectives.
PCSO Assistant General Manager for Gaming and Technology Conrado Zabella said that contrary to the daily newspaper’s reports, “Bingo Milyonaryo” is not “jueteng-like” nor a cover-up for the illegal numbers game.
Bingo Milyonaryo is a lottery game that originated with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) that was transferred to PCSO in an agency-to-agency agreement when Pagcor determined that the game did not fit their product profile of casino-based games but rather was a match with PCSO’s lottery games.
PCSO lottery games feature tickets sold at outlets nationwide, while Pagcor games are based only at a few accredited casino venues. Bingo Milyonaryo, like PCSO’s existing lotto games, requires the player to choose certain numbers to play, and winning combinations are chosen via draws.
Bingo Milyonaryo, run by Comnet Management Corp. (Comnet), was launched on May 26 this year on a one-year experimental test run basis.
Far from being the “highly lucrative” enterprise it is alleged to be, the game has after five months attracted only several territorial dealers with 157 point-of-sales terminals.
PCSO said that as of October 31, the game has generated gross receipts of P1.44 million, from which P280,209.72 has been contributed to PCSO’s Charity Fund for the medical needs of indigent patients.
Ritchie A. Horario