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STL in Albay, a total failure

By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- Following the cancellation of the franchise issued to the Lucky V Prime Enterprises Corporation by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to operate a Small Town Lottery (STL) in Albay, Vice Gov. Harold Imperial said he would still be meeting with the PCSO and the Lucky V management so that appropriate measures could be taken. Imperial in a phone interview said measures to be undertaken may include drafting a resolution by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to officially inform the mayors of the 15 towns and three cities of Albay, including the Philippine National Police (PNP), about the franchise cancellation. He said the measure should aim at preventing the proliferation of jueteng, the illegal numbers game, said to be disguised as STL, and as such, “we should inform the public that the STL is no longer operating in Albay.” Imperial quoted a PCSO Board Resolution No. 248 issued on August 8 this year, an electronic copy of which was furnished this reporter, stating that the Branch Operations Sector recommended the termination of the authority to operate given to operator (Lucky V) due for its failure to comply with the PCSO agreed performance and obligations under the STL 2016 revised Implementing Rules and Regulation. The resolution said Lucky V violated Section 18 of the IRR by not remitting to PCSO the total sales collection, less agency commission, from the prize fund and sales based on the Presumptive Monthly Retail Receipt (PMRR) in the amount of P77.6M. Violation of Section 22: for not using the official tickets/receipts either printed by the PCSO or the license holder, in accordance with the prescribed form and design of the PCSO. The resolution also cited the intra-corporate dispute affecting the STL operations in the area. Lucky V started operation in Albay on May 2017 after it secured an Agency Agreement with the PCSO to operate STL in the 15 towns and three cities of the province. The gaming firm was then headed by Alex Herman Alimania, President, and Alexander Javier, Corporate Secretary. They both hailed from Quezon province. Lucky V during its operations holds three draws a day at 12:00 noon, followed at 4:00 p.m. and at 8:00 p.m. Nelly Loyola, PCSO Albay manager, in an earlier interview said Lucky V was expected to generate at least P2.5M in daily draws. According to Loyola, revenues generated from STL would assist the 15 towns and three cities in Albay in pursuing health care and charitable projects where the PCSO would grant a three percent share from the 30 percent net sales collected from the Lucky V operator for their province-wide STL operations. A one percent share would also go to the province, the Philippine National Police (PNP) would be entitled to a 2.5 percent share from the 30 percent net sales collected, while the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would receive a 5 percent monthly prize fund share from the 55 percent net sales collected by PCSO. Last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay passed a resolution asking the PCSO to cancel the franchise of Lucky V as the latter failed to comply with the agreements stipulated in the STL Implementing Rules and Regulations. In that resolution, the SP claimed that jueteng, the illegal numbers game, still exists, this time in the guise of STL, as one cannot distinguish the jueteng “bookies” from the PCSO STL bet collectors. The SP has also expressed disappointment over the shares that the PCSO remits to various local government units following its first 6 months operations. Last year, Albay Gov. Al Frances Bichara requested President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the Small Town Lottery (STL) operations in the province following the killing of Alex Herman Alimania, the president of Lucky V, by two gunmen riding in tandem inside a mall parking area in the city’s business district. Bichara in an interview expressed disappointment over the shooting incidents saying “I would not allow that this province be used as ‘battleground ‘ of warring STL operators from other areas.” Bichara said he believes that the infighting among officers of the Lucky V Prime Enterprise has triggered the elimination of Alemania. “This is how I read it: there’s a sort of turf war going on between the group of Alemania and one Alex Javier who was allegedly booted out of the corporation.”

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