Duterte wants shake-up of small town lottery

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2017 09:56 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2017 10:37 AM

President Duterte gives a speech at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, December 22, 2016. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is setting his sights on the state-run Small Town Lottery in a bid to generate massive funds for social services, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Monday.

Aguirre, head of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling, said Duterte is dismayed because STL operators are only remitting 10 to 15 percent of what he believes should go to the government.

"Hindi po nasisiyahan ang ating Pangulo sapagkat napakaliit po ng inaakala nating dapat tanggapin ng gobyerno -- iyun nga, mahigit lamang P4 bilyon sa isang taon," Aguirre told radio DZMM.

"Mga 10 to 15 percent lang ang nireremit nila sa kanilang collection sa PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office). Iyun pong mga 85 percent, sa kanila lang. Parang nadadaya po ang ating gobyerno."

(The President is not happy because he believes that the government receives very little, only more than P4 billion yearly... Operators only remit 10 to 15 percent of their collection to the PCSO. They keep 85 percent. The government appears to have been cheated.)

The STL, originally implemented to rival the similar but illegal "jueteng", reported only P4.7 in revenues in 2015 and P6.8 billion as of October 2016, according to a PCSO report.

The National Bureau of Investigation has claimed that some STL operators defrauded the government of at least P50 billion a year by underdeclaring their sales.

There are only 18 STL operators nationwide.

MORE OPERATORS, LESS CORRUPTION

"Gustong remedyuhan ni President Duterte itong pagpapatakbo ng STL sapagkat ang sabi niya, kung anong dapat tanggapin ng gobyerno, iyun ang dapat na tanggap ng PCSO upang mapondohan ang health services," Aguirre said.

(President Duterte wants to reform STL operations. He said the government's rightful share in revenues should go to PCSO in order to fund health services.)

Duterte has ordered the PCSO to increase the number of STL operators to bring in more competition, as well as toughen up the collection of the government's revenue share.

Over 200 people have made a bid for STL franchises so far, Aguirre said, adding that the PCSO may announce its expanded list of operators before January 31.

The new STL operators will post cash bonds and remit a fixed amount to the government everyday, based on their bids.

Aguirred said the government will draw funds from cash bonds if an operator fails to meet the daily quota.

Under the new system of share collection, PCSO expects to collect at least P39 billion in STL income this year, the Justice secretary said.