PCSO exec calls for support, says lotto ‘is not gambling’

PCSO General Manager Royina Garma says lotto and other games they administer are not forms of gambling but charity work. (Photo by Jennifer P. Rendon)

By: Ednalyn Belonio-Diamante

Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Royina Garma called on the public to patronize their products saying these are not forms of gambling.

“May church po na nagsasabi na ayoko ng Lotto Kasi gambling yon, e ano naman po yong raffle nyo?” Garma asked.

Raffles, Garma said, is also similar to lotto the latter only involves number games.

She clarified PCSO is not into gambling as “we are more on charities.”

“So kung walang tumataya sa Lotto, STL (Small Town Lottery) at sweepstakes, wala po kaming maibigay na pera sa inyo at sa gobyerno. So people are saying am I promoting gambling? No, because gambling is to Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). If you are going to PAGCOR you are going to gamble because you are betting money and you are using your psychological skills and not your luck, you are really gambling,” Garma said.

In PCSO, “you go to a lottery agent you bought a ticket and choose your lucky number pick. In PCSO lahat panalo walang talo, because once you give your money to PCSO through Lotto you are giving to charities. If you win may babalik sa iyo, if not just think kung ilan yong nangangailangan ng ambulansiya at kung ilan ang nangangailangan ng dialysis.”

Garma said PCSO contributes 40 percent of its charity funds to the universal health care program through PhilHealth.

Aside from the universal health care program, PCSO is also mandated by law to give 1 percent of lotto gross sales to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as stipulated in Republic Act 7722.

Since 1995 to date, the agency has contributed P2.4 billion to CHED.

The agency also gives assistance to the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the PNP, the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Crop Insurance Corp (PCIC), orphanages, and other Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

She said the agency is now working to increase its revenue s by promoting all their products “because we are really affected by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act considering that 40 percent of our revenues go to our taxes and this is one of the reasons why there was a decline in our revenues.”

In Region 6 this year, Garma said they were able to provide P376 million in medical assistance and distributed 132 ambulances.

As of October this year, she said they were able to help 30,000 patients nationwide.

“Ganyan po karami ang matutulungan ng pera niyo kapag idinaan niyo sa PCSO,” Garma said.

Garma was here in Iloilo recently to distribute checks for P58.1 million to CHED-Western Visayas.