PCSO to mayors, governors: Help government eradicate illegal numbers game
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan on Tuesday sought the help of local chief executives to promote and protect the operation of the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) and reminded them too that coddlers and protectors of illegal numbers game may face disqualification from public service and face prosecution if they failed to stop it in their areas.
“PCSO’s partnership with local government units is very crucial in the fight against the operation of jueteng, masiao, last two, swertres, among others. I’m urging you to help the Duterte administration eradicate these corrupt-laden gambling activities and let’s just work together to promote and protect our expanded STL operation,” Balutan said.
Just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 13 to battle all forms of illegal numbers game by creating Task Force STL that includes PCSO as member to enforce the 2016 STL Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Balutan said EO 13 gives more muscle for Republic Act 9287, or The Illegal Gambling Law, that was passed into law on April 2, 2004.
“This law, RA 9287, reminds public officials that they may face more stringent penalties than operators and financiers if they fail to eradicate illegal numbers game,” he said.
Section 5 of the law states, “If the collector, agent, coordinator, controller, supervisor, maintainer, manager, operator, financier or capitalist of any illegal numbers game is a government employee or public official, whether elected or appointed, shall suffer the penalty of 12 years and one day to 20 years, and a fine ranging from three million pesos to five million pesos.”
“It can mean the end of the road for any career in public office,” Balutan said.
Months before the launching of the expanded STL last February 1, Balutan and Corpuz have been doing the rounds of coordinating with the office of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Ronald dela Rosa to “prepare the grounds” for STL operation.
Balutan said that under RA 9287, the same provision also mandates an accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office.
“The PCSO will also prosecute police officials who ignore Executive Order 13,”Balutan said.
“Law enforcers are not exempted as well. Failure to apprehend perpetrators can lead to an administrative penalty of suspension or dismissal,” he said.
Balutan aired the warning in a move to stop jueteng which continues in some areas.
Balutan said each day jueteng is allowed to operate means a loss of millions in government revenue that could fund the administration’s charity services and health programs for all, through Small Town Lottery (STL).
At present, the expanded STL has 56 Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs)in active operation that could generate up to P27 billion worth of revenue.
He said the nationwide STL operation could also produce less than one million jobs for poor people.
PCSO: Nationwide STL operation with 35 more agent corporations
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is in the process of evaluating 35 more provinces with pending applications for Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) to operate under the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL).
“There are additional 35 areas still unsigned with AACs that are presently being evaluated by the STL-Supervision and Monitoring Group. After that, we can say that the whole country is now with STL,” PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz said.
The expanded STL was launched last January with 56 approved AACs from the original 18. With this number of STL agents, the agency’s revenue collection could reach P27 billion for this year.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said that if the additional 35 AACs are approved within this year, this would further boost the agency’s revenue collection in line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s order to produce money for the government that will be used in buying medicines that will be given free to the needy.
“Our actions are part of the previous arrangement on instruction of the President for us to produce money for this government for charitable services,” Balutan said.
Among the areas being evaluated are Western District of Manila in the National Capital Region (NCR); Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Apayao from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); Ilocos Sur in Region 1; Batanes and Quirino from Region 2; Aurora in Region 3; Palawan and Romblon in Region 4B; Catanduanes and Masbate in Region 5; Capiz and Guimaras in Region 6; Siquijor and Cebu City in Region 7; Eastern Samar, Samar(western), and Biliran in Region 8; Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Sibugay in Region 9; Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental in Region 10; Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostella Valley and Davao Occidental in Region 11; Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani in Region 12 ; Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Island in CARAGA; Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi in ARMM and Cotabato City.
He said that with a total of 91 approved AACs within this year, these STL agents can also produce almost a million job employment for ordinary people who cannot qualify for standard jobs.
Balutan said that one of the objectives of the expanded STL is to eliminate the “underground economy” perpetuated by gambling lords who rob the government of billions of pesos in taxes.
“The directive of the President is to stop illegal gambling in with line with his aggressive all-out war against corruption,” Balutan said.
“The PCSO wants STL translated into concrete gains by providing serbisyo, trabaho at laro para sa mga ordinaryong mamamayang Pilipino,” he added.
PCSO REQUESTS CIDG TO PROBE FAKE FB ACCOUNT
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan sought on Monday the assistance of the Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to investigate a fake Facebook account using a “PCSO financial assistance page” under the name of the agency.
“PCSO would like to inform the public that the PCSO Financial Assistance FB page is not in any way connected to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office,” Balutan said.
Balutan was referring to a Facebook account carrying the name and logo of the organization that allegedly insulted a netizen who was merely inquiring about possible assistance for a colleague’s sick baby whose hospital expenses had reached P250,000.
FB user Margauxe Bravantes said she posted her inquiry to “PCSO Financial Assistance” FB account with the agency’s logo on February 15, 2017.
However, instead of getting a favorable response, Bravantes claimed that she was insulted and sarcastically answered by the handler of the account.
Another netizen also sent a message to the FB account’s owner, asking if the page could really help or if the page was only a hoax. The netizen also got a rude reply and was blocked.
Balutan confirmed the page is a fake.
He said the only official website of PCSO can be accessed at www.pcso.gov.ph.
Balutan assures the public that the PCSO and its personnel are always ready to assist the Filipino people through its various charity programs.
As of press time, the fake account is still accessible on Facebook.
“The Agency has now taken steps by asking the CIDG and its cybercrime unit to identify the people behind the fake Facebook account, and is also doing the necessary actions to ensure that other bogus facebook pages, social media accounts and websites using PCSO shall be dealt with accordingly,” Balutan said.(30).
Conversation and screenshots between Margauxe Bravantes and “PCSO Financial Assistance” FB page
MB: “goodevening PCSO team, gusto lang po magtanong kung puwede niyo matulungan ang katrabaho ko.. hindi nap o halos makabayad sa bill nila sa osptal .. ung baby po kasi nila is nag colostomy operation. Two weeks na po sila sa medical city their bill is almost 250k and kelangan pa ng follow up na operation which can cost up to another 250k”
“sana po matulungan niyo kami,”
PCSO “Financial Assistance”: “sino ang nasa ospital?”
MB: “ung baby po nila,”
PCSO “Financial Assistance”: “ dapat ang mismong pamliya ang makikipag usap sa amin di ka naman pala kaano ano.”
MB: “mawalang galang po. Kaya po ako nagtatanong kung matutulungan niyo po sila. Kaibigan at katrabao ko ung babae kaya po ang nagtatanong.”
“sasabihin ko na lang po na imessage kau. Salamat”
PCSO “Financial Assistance”: “kaya nga sila ang dapat na kumakausap sa amin at di ikaw.period.”
“Don’t argue with me…”