The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) through its Medical Services Department (MSD) said it donated P963,459.40 worth of medicines for January and February this year.
MSD Manager Jose Bernardo Gochoco revealed that for January, PCSO donated P581,959.44 worth of medicines. The beneficiaries include the Municipality of Pilar in Capiz, Lanao del Sur, Nueva Ecija, Quezon City as well as Police Department personnel, dependents, and indigent residents; Barangay San Roque, La Paz Tarlac; Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Barangay Mayamot, Antipolo City; Barangay BF, Inc. (SCABI), Admiral Elpidio B. Padama.
Also benefiting from the donations were Mati City, Davao Oriental; Legazpi City and the Province of Albay; Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte; Camarines Sur; Barangay Poblacion, Malasiqui, Pangasinan; Barangay Ibaan, Batangas; Holy Infant Parish in San Antonio, Zambales; Central Luzon State University (CLSU); Davao del Norte 1st District, North Cotabato 3rd District; Ilocos Sur 1st District; Barangay Kaong, Silang, Cavite; Department of National Defense; National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, Silang, Cavite; and World War 2 veterans.
“For February, PCSO donated P381,499.96 worth of medicines to the Municipality of Northern Kabuntalan, Maguindanao; Gabaldon, Sierra Madre; Municipality of Sibutu, Tawi-tawi; Barangay Minalin, Pampanga; Barangays Emmie, Saduc, and Datu Saber in Lanao; and Baguio City,” Gochoco said.
The beneficiaries also include Barangays 31, 35, Lagui-Sail, Caoacan all in Laoag City; Barangay Manlocboc, Aguilar, Pangasinan; Lone District Siquijor; Barangay Bibiclat, Aliaga in Nueva Ecija; Barangay Siniguelasan, Bacoor City; Tawi-tawi Province, Grace Family Helper Project (Children of Promise); Salam Compound, Barangay Culiat, Quezon City; Parish of theHoly Family, Roxas District, Quezon City; and 5th District in Manila.
Gochoco said that in 2017, PCSO donated P3,297,510.69 worth of medicines.
How to avail the program
The Medicine Donation Program (In-kind) of PCSO provides augmentation of the needed medicines to qualified government and non-government agencies (NGAs) to enable them to provide efficient and effective health care services.
The program started during the time of the late President Corazon Aquino from an employee’s clinic only that was tasked to conduct medical and dental missions in depressed areas.
When requests started pouring in, the agency can no longer handle all of them at the same time that they decided to give actual medicines and dental supplies instead.
“Sasabihin ng ilang congressmen, bakit hindi ninyo kami binibigyan? Dapat kami ang binibigyan ninyo. Siyempre, you have to go through a process. E, nasa website naman namin how to avail of assistance,” said Gochoco.
Gochoco noted that under the proposed Implementing Rules Regulations, the LGU will only have a share if it is providing a home base for Lotto and/or STL [Small Town Lottery].
“We cannot give to those who do not have Lotto or STL. Dahil ayaw nila sa Lotto o STL, bakit ka makakahingi ng donation sa amin, di mo naman kami tinutulungan?” he stressed.
“Kung ayaw mo kaming tulungan, saan kami kukuha ng funds sa lugar ninyo?” he added.
“Yung funds na makukuha namin, yun din ang ibabalik namin sa inyo. Buti sana kung kasama sa GAA [General Appropriations Act] yung revenues ng PCSO, wala naman. Pag wala tayong benta, wala tayong ibibigay. Ayaw ninyo kaming tulungan? We are not compelled to assist you,” he explained.
Unlike the Department of Health (DOH), which is mandated to provide equitable and accessible quality healthcare for all, PCSO is mandated “to provide and raise funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character.”
Gochoco also emphasized that the agency does not give cash assistance.
The frequency of assistance shall be once in six months only and the amount of assistance, which usually ranges from P10,000 up to P100,000 (for special cases), depends on the Board’s decision and the classification of the requesting party.
While he admitted that the said amount is not sufficient to cover all the indigents in a certain barangay or municipality, PCSO cannot give more than that amount to avoid mismanagement of medicines.
Also within six months, the LGU has to submit an accomplished liquidation form on how they dispensed the medicines donated to them.
“We try to be as equitable as possible. Wala silang karapatang mag-demand ng amount. We determine for them,” said Gochoco. “We do not give in excess of P20,000 at dapat maubos talaga yan for 500 people lang, halimbawa. We expect no surpluses so we have to judiciously give an appropriate amount.”
PCSO’s role during disasters
Under the Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, provinces, independent cities, component cities, municipalities, and barangays get a separate Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) or share of revenues from the Philippine national government.
“Ang local government ang in-charge diyan. Ang DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] at DOH may devolve component diyan. Walang sinabi sa batas na PCSO ang dapat tumulong diyan,” revealed Gochoco.
“Actually, it’s the duty of the local government, provincial and municipal governments to spend for that. May IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) sila for that. Andami nilang IRA!” he added.
Out of that IRA, five percent is set aside for calamities and emergency purposes. For bigger barangays, it is P5 million plus and 70 percent of that can be used to pre-purchase of supplies, but surprisingly, some LGUs do not use that.
“Bakit di nila ginagalaw? Kung two years mong di ginagalaw yun under the law, puwedeng malipat sa mayor’s social fund. Gagambalain nila lahat ng external sources para di nila magalaw yun,” revealed Gochoco. “And the mayor can use that fund for whatever purpose he wants.”
The PCSO Charter, or RA 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated to 55 percent for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30 percent for charity fund (various charity programs and service) and 15 percent as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).
Gochoco explained that of the charity fund, a percentage goes to mandatory contributions, which is P4 to P5 billion a year, depending on the income; while the rest goes to the Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP).
“Kasi ang ating charity fund is basically for augmentation purpose only. Di pwedeng saluhin ng PCSO ang trabaho ng LGUs, DOH, or DSWD. Kasi lahat ng pondo natin, galing sa gaming [o taya]natin. Kung efforts ng gaming natin kumikita tayo, fine. [So] if ever PCSO will help you, there has to be an effort on your part to help increase our revenues. We can only give what we have. Tangkilikin ninyo ang produkto namin,” urged Gochoco.
PCSO gives priority to Geographically Isolated and Depressed areas (GIDA), national government agencies such as the Office of the President, Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, among many others.
It also supports non-government offices and charitable institutions – like the Rotary Club and Lions – that conduct regular civic services and medical missions; people’s organizations (such as senior citizens and women’s groups); local government units, government agencies/organizations and government health institutions/centers; non-government health institutions/centers; and non-stock, non-profit organizations or associations.
BY MYLENE ORILLO WITH LEILA VALENCIA AND JENNIFER BARILLO