THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is determined to implement its unified national online lottery system that will not only improve the handling of lottery games but will also save the agency a lot of money, its general manager, Alexander Balutan, said.
The charity agency plans to bid out its P10 billion modernization project to improve the facilities used in its online lottery draw.
In a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times, Balutan said there are more than 10,000 lotto terminals nationwide provided by two companies — the Philippine Gaming and Management Corp. (PGMC) and the Pacific Online System Corp. (POSC)
PGMC supplies lotto machines in Luzon and its contract with the PCSO will expire on August 21, 2018. The POSC contract for Visayas and Mindanao will expire on July 31, 2018.
Balutan said the PCSO was supposed to complete the bidding process and award the contract to the new bidder before the end of 2017 but PGMC was able to get a temporary restraining order from a Makati City Regional trial court stopping the bidding.
PGMC had insisted that it is the exclusive provider of the state-run charity agency’s online lottery system.
“This is a court battle and we are now doing whatever we can to be able to push through with our modernization program,” the PCSO general manager added.
Balutan said he wanted to pursue the bidding because it is the first time that the PCSO would bid out its lottery system.
He added that since the time of former president Fidel Ramos in 1996, PCMC’s contract was based on a lease agreement and there has been no bidding ever since.
“That is why we are pushing for the biding and open it to other service providers that could provide the best service,” Balutan added.
The PCSO general manager said improving the lotto system would boost the income of the charity institution that could be used to support its health programs for millions of Filipinos.
Balutan said the PCSO increased the number of its branches to 60 last year, bringing the agency closer to the people who need medical assistance.
However, he said the agency will need more fund to be able to add more branches.
The PCSO last year increased its daily allocations under the Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) to P13.55 million from P8.98 million.
Through the IMAP, the PCSO will guarantee the payment of health expenses, including hospital confinement, cancer treatment, medicines, dialysis, transplant procedures, cardiovascular procedures as well as medical and assistive devices, among others.