MANILA -- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian floated Sunday the idea of privatizing the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) after President Rodrigo Duterte alleged of "massive corruption" in the agency.
The President ordered the suspension of gaming schemes under the agency and gave law enforcers 24 hours starting July 27 to stop the gaming activities operated, licensed and franchised by the PCSO.
"I-privatize na lang ang operation ng PCSO. Sa ganitong paraan, pwedeng ipagpatuloy ang operation ng lotto, maiiwasan at matitigil na ang corruption sa gobyerno, at magkakaroon pa ang gobyerno ng siguradong kita na magagamit sa pagtulong sa mga kapos-palad nating kababayan," Gatchalian said in a statement.
(Privatize the operation of PCSO. In this way, lotto operations can continue and we can also prevent and stop corruption in the government. The government will also have a fixed income that can be used to help our poor countrymen.)
Gatchalian added that proceeds from PCSO games should be remitted directly to the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) to fund social services programs.
"This way we can avoid the mishandling of funds that are supposed to be allocated to help the poor," he said.
The PCSO is currently headed by former Cebu City police chief Police Co. Royina Garma as its general manager.
Garma replaced retired Marine general Alexander Balutan, who was fired in March "due to serious allegations of corruption."
Balutan drew controversy in 2018 over a supposedly lavish PCSO Christmas party, where the agency spent about P6 million.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, noted that lotto and other gaming franchises can open anew once the government weeds out corruption within the PCSO.
"I think he (Duterte) is shutting down the franchises. It can always open once the corruption is unearthed and cleansed," he said.
Police on Saturday began its crackdown on lotto kiosks and other gaming outlets nationwide.