By Celso Amo
LEGAZPI CITY --- Philippine Sweepstakes General Manager Alexander Balutan has warned local officials in Albay from continuing the operation Small Town Lottery after the franchise of erstwhile STL operator Lucky V Prime Enterprises Corp. was terminated last September 26 for failure to remit the P259.4M share of the agency.
“We can’t yet release their names (local officials allegedly operating STL in the province) as we are monitoring their operations,” said Balutan during a press conference at La Piazza Hotel and Convention Center Thursday morning.
There were reports that jueteng is operating in the Albay’s third district.
Balutan blamed Lucky V Prime Enterprises Corp. as small town lottery franchise holder in Albay starting May 2017 for its lack of capability to run STL.
“As a result, the franchise holder resulted to sub-contracting STL operation-- a violation of PCSO memorandum of agreement,” said Balutan.
Balutan added that PCSO will now have closer coordination with the governors, mayors, the Philippine National Police, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), as well as the National Bureau of Investigation in monitoring the performance of the STL holder in the area.
“As a result, Lucky V bookies conduct their own operation without remitting the supposed monthly PMR to PCSO.”
PCSO had provided financial support amounting to P35M to the thousands of Mayon evacuees.
“STL is the killer of jueteng,” said Balutan, adding that money derived from jueteng operations are used by politicians to buy votes and maintain their hold on the voters.
He said with the coming mid-term elections next year politicians want jueteng to resume operation.
“The operation of Lucky V is now illegal,” said Remeliza Gabuyo, PCSO assistant general manager for branch operation stressed.
She did not yet gave a time frame for the new STL franchise operator to start operation.
STL stopped in Camarines Sur
Moreover, he also said STL operation in Camarines Sur has stopped for five months already due to the rivalry of among local politicians.
“We want the injunction lifted so STL operation can start because we already lost P48M and the indigents who want to avail of our assistance also suffer,” said Balutan.
He said the PCSO has donated 30 ambulances in CamarinesSur, as well as P100M worth of medical assistance to indigents there.
Ted Peronisto Quiaño, PCSO chief of staff, said the failure of Lucky V Prime Enterprises, resulted in major policy changes in STL operation, such as 20 percent refundable possible margin of return (PMR), two months viable operation and income tax. among others.
“If STL operators can’t operate in two months, their franchise will be terminated on the third month,” said Quiaño.
He admitted that it’s no longer enough for STL applicants to show they have funds to support the operation.
“That’s what we learned from Lucky V operation,” he added.
Alex German Alemania, chair of the Lucky V Prime Enterprises Inc., the STL operator in Albay, was shot dead last Nov. 21 last year reportedly due to competition in the bookies operation among board members of Lucky V Prime Enterprises, Inc.
Quiaño said five new STL franchise applicantions had been received by PCSO but only one has submitted documentary requirements.
PCSO supports Universal Health Care
Balutan said last year PCSO started conducting media forum throughout the country.
Series of fora were conducted in Davao in the Mindanao area, Pampanga for the northern and central Luzon, Cebu for the Visayas area and lastly in Laoag in Ilocos Norte for the Ilocos region.
“We are doing this because we want to show to the public that we are transparent in all our dealings,” said Balutan.
Balutan said he gave hints to the winners of the biggest STL winners to refute allegation that PCSO is the one choosing the winners among its employees.
“We want to know the public where their money goes and what PCSO has done in support for the Universal Health Care Program of President Duterte,” he added.
PCSO has collected more than P48,020,431,562.78 (billion) revenues from January to September this year which is 25 .5 percent higher compared to the P38,267,580,040.15 during the same period last year.
Dr, Larry Cedro, PCSO assistance general manager for charity section, said 60 percent will be retained by the agency while 40 percent will be for fund transfer to support the Universal Health Care Program.
PCSO revenues come from lotto, digital games, STL, Keno and the Sweepstakes.
“We are confident that by the end of 2018 we will be able to break the P60B barrier,” said Balutan with the help of its employees and games franchisees.
Last year the total revenue of PCSO was placed at P52.7B.
PCSO now has 8,735 lotto agents; 2,352 KENO agents; 84 STL authorized agent corporations including 12 jackpot winners providing a total of P406, 624,082.00 jackpot prizes.
Balutan also said that PCSO has provided calamity assistance amounting to P27M, endowment fund of P1M, outpatient consultation program P645,457.66, medical and dental mission P98,532.90 and PCSO at source and processing(ASAP) program number 68 nationwide.
IMAP beneficiaries increased 29 percent from 98,211 in 2017 to 127,005 in 2018 while the amount of IMAP assistance increased 8 percent from PP1,985,246,960.50 to P2,136,652,511.54.
Shares from STL which has increased from P304,915,684.24 in 2017 to P422,543,639.38 in 2018 or an increase of 39 percent went to cities and municipalities P174,845,643.88; congressional districts P43,711,410.97; provinces P58,281,881.29; Philippine National Police P116,563,762.59 and CIDG P29,140,9040.65.