Lotto prizes that are unclaimed after one year revert to the Charity Fund, according to Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Vice Chairman and General Manager Jose
Ferdinand M. Rojas 2nd.
Rojas explained what happens to the unclaimed prizes in response to news reports that lawmakers were drafting bills that seek to earmark the funds for other purposes.
PCSO’s founding charter, Republic Act 1169 as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 42 and Presidential Decree 1157, “contains specific instructions in Section 6 (D), that “the balances of any funds in PCSO, including the Prize Fund where lotto prizes are taken from, shall revert to and form part of the Charity Fund, which, according to the law’s Section 6 (B), shall be used for health programs, including the expansion of existing ones, and for medical assistance and services and/or charities of national character,” said Rojas.
The PCSO has existing medical assistance programs under the Charity Fund, including the flagship Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) that subsidizes hospitalization bills of needy patients, as well as treatments such as dialysis and chemotherapy.
The charity agency also has its Ambulance Donation program, which provides ambulances to local government units and hospitals and other institutions; the Endowment Fund program that provides financial assistance to public hospitals; the Institutional Partner program that supports orphanages, homes for the aged, and the like; the Medical Equipment and Medicine Donation Program; and other programs of a medical- and healthcare-related nature.
Also in PCSO’s charter are the rules on the allocation of its revenues from lotteries and other games —55 percent goes to the Prize Fund, 30 percent to the Charity Fund, and 15 percent to the Operating Fund for the agency’s expenses, as it does not receive any funding from the national government.
An average of P8 billion enters the Charity Fund each year, which goes to the PCSO’s IMAP and other programs, and, because of various laws that sought funding for other agencies, to mandatory contributions that support government bodies such as the National Museum, National Book Development Board, Commission on Higher Education, and many others.
“The public may rest assured that unclaimed prizes are not just stuck in a bank. These funds are actively used to support the programs of PCSO that have made it the ‘takbuhan ng bayan’ during the people’s times of need over 80 years of the agency’s existence,” Rojas said.