• Sweepstakes office’s financial health assured

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    The Department of Finance (DOF) has assured the public that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is not running out of funds to provide medical assistance to indigent Filipinos.

    “Hindi naman sila nalulugi [They are not losing], they continue providing assistance for charity, but there are also times where we remind them of their mandate,” Finance Assistant Secretary Teresita Habitan, who is in-charge of government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions, said.

    Reports have said PCSO was running out of funds in providing financial help to individual recipients and making mandatory contributions to different government agencies.

    Earlier, the PCSO urged Malacanang to certify urgent a bill that seeks to limit congressional earmarking of charity funds for non-medical assistance.

    These non-medical mandatory contributions, specified in the 15 laws, are depleting the charity funds of PCSO and depriving poor patients, it said.

    The15 laws mandate PCSO to share a small portion of its revenues to government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education, National Shelter Program, Crop Insurance Program, Government Information System on Migration under the Department of Foreign Affairs, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for the Ancestral Domain Fund, Museum Endowment Fund, Dangerous Drug Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

    It is expected to maintain a standby fund for the financial requirements of containing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Avian Influenza or Bird Flu Viruses.

    The PCSO is also mandated to share proceeds from state lotteries with local government units.

    Its mission is to generate funds for health programs and charities through sweepstakes, races, lotteries and other similar activities.

    Based on its 2014 unaudited financial statement, PCSO had total assets of P19.37 billion.

    Its total retail receipts amounted to P32.32 billion in 2014, of which, sweepstakes sales amounted to P50 million; Keno, P2.75 billion; and lottery sales, P29.52 billion.

    Of the total sales, 55 percent of net receipts were allocated for prize fund, 30 percent for charity fund and 15 percent for operating fund.

    The PCSO’s operating expenses amounted to P2.54 billion in 2014.

    MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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