The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Board of Directors, officials and employees are disheartened by a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Makati City court against the agency’s bidding for the five-year lease of the National Online Lottery System (NOLS) with an Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) amounting to P10.906 billion.
Seventeen bidders properly secured bid documents for the NOLS, including the Philippine Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC), which filed for the TRO before the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 143 with Maximo de Leon as presiding judge.
“We are deeply saddened and a bit frustrated by the TRO filed by the PGMC against PCSO’s bidding for the lottery system, a major government project. Revenues generated by the games of PCSO sustain financial assistance for the poor needing hospitalization and medical attention. The bidding for our lottery system promises entertaining games and wider market share that will guarantee government funds. We need to have a new state-of-the-art and better lottery system that costs cheaper than our current lottery lease system,” according to PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz.
“As far as PCSO is concerned, the NOLS was carefully and tediously studied to ensure that the government and the people are protected,” Corpuz said.
The PCSO said it wants the court to strike a balance and consider the agency’s indigent clients who are dependent on PCSO’s charity services, which are sustained by PCSO games, including the lotteries.
It, however, stated that they respect the wisdom of the judge in issuing the TRO and they shall comply with the court decision.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said since the start of the PCSO lotto games more than 30 years ago, this is the first time that it opened for public bidding supply and delivery of PCSO’s Online Lottery System.
Balutan added that the PCSO is doing this in order to be transparent in its operations and transactions.
He said projected revenues from the NOLS will fund the health and medical programs of both PCSO and the government and will ultimately benefit millions of Filipinos.
For the PCSO, Balutan added, the bidding for the NOLS pursuant to Republic Act 9184 is an opportune time to open the agency’s lottery system extending equal opportunity to all eligible private entities and encourage competitive bidding.