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PCSO: LGUs have no authority over STL operations

By Jason B. Neola


SMALL Town Lottery (STL) operations can proceed without securing permits or any form of approval from local government units (LGUs) within cities, municipalities, or provinces.


This was the statement made by General Manager Jobet Ramos of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in Naga City, clarifying the scope of the LGUs’ authority over STL activities.


Ramos’ statement underscores the city government’s lack of power to permit or deny STL operations within its jurisdiction. According to Ramos, it is the PCSO’s STL Core Group that evaluates and grants operating authority to STL applicants.


It is indicated in the checklist of requirements for the STL application that it shall be submitted directly at the PCSO Main Office, Conservatory Building, Mandaluyong City.


“This makes it clear that it is impossible for any city hall official to receive pay-offs or dole-out money from Emerald Ventures, the operator of STL in Naga City, as the city government does not have any role in choosing the operator,” Ramos said.


The STL Core Group is responsible for selecting the private companies that will operate the STL. Ramos also addressed accusations against the city government for allegedly receiving allocated funds from STL operations. He clarified that the PCSO has not remitted any such funds to any LGU in the country due to a directive from the Commission on Audit, which awaits authorization from the Office of the President (OP).


“The OP has not yet issued any directive allowing the PCSO to give any LGU its share in the STL operations,” Ramos emphasized. Thus, the special committee (STL Core Group) retains sole decision-making power over which companies are granted operational authority.


Regarding accusations of ongoing jueteng operations in the city and suspicions of city officials receiving payola, Police Lt. Col. Chester Pomar, the spokesman of the Naga City Police Office (NCPO), firmly denied such claims.


“There is no existence of such illegal numbers game in Naga,” Pomar asserted. He further explained that the NCPO, through its intelligence division, consistently monitors the situation to ensure no jueteng operations are occurring.


The statements from both Ramos and Pomar aim to clear up misconceptions and provide transparency regarding STL operations and the roles of various government entities in these processes.

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