PCSO chief appeals for understanding, says medical assistance to continue

Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2019 05:58 PM

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) assistance beneficiaries line up at the Lung Center of the Philippines releasing section on July 29, 2019. The PCSO said its medical assistance program for individuals would still be available "unless otherwise instructed" despite a ban on gaming operations. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said Monday its medical assistance programs would continue despite the suspension of its gaming operations.

President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the agency to give financial aid to the poor even as it deals with corruption issues, PCSO General Manager Royina Garma said.

"Sana po maintindihan po ng mga kababayan natin at ang charity assistance naman po natin ay tuloy-tuloy pa rin," Garma said in a video message.

(I hope our countrymen understand us and our charity assistance will continue.)

Garma apologized to the public for delays in PCSO services, saying the agency was sorting out kinks in light of the corruption allegations.

"Sana po maunawaan niyo po ang sitwasyon namin ngayon. Humihingi rin po kami ng dispensa kung may mga delay sa delivery of service at pag-claim ng prices dahil po nasa stage po kami na inaayos namin based on the order of the President," she said.

(I hope you understand our situation. We also apologize for any delay in the delivery of services and in claiming prizes because we are in the stage where we have to fix things based on the order of the President.)

Over 30,000 lotto kiosks and gaming outlets have been shut down since Saturday after President Duterte declared all PCSO-regulated games as illegal.

Duterte has accused the agency of "massive corruption" and will identify personalities involved in due time, Malacañang said.

Garma said PCSO officials were "very positive" that issues hounding the agency would be resolved.

“It is a challenge, hindi lang po sa akin at sa board of directors, ganun din po sa lahat ng empleyado na paghusayan po," Garma said.

(It's a challenge not just for me and the board of directors but for all employees to do better.)

The PCSO is under the supervision of the Office of the President. It is tasked to raise and provide funds for health programs.