The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is urging the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to digitize its products to continue generating revenues amid the quarantine restrictions being enforced because of COVID-19.

During the lottery agency’s briefing with the House panel, Albay Representative Joey Salceda said PCSO’s revenues declined from P44 billion in 2019 to just P18 billion in 2020 due to a five-month stoppage in operations.

“If you digitalize, you could operate despite quarantines.”

“If you digitalize, you could operate despite quarantines. It’s also good for maximizing revenues from small town lottery (STL). If you have a digital trail, you can account for revenues better, and prevent under-declaration of sales,” Salceda said.

The veteran legislator particularly noted that STL sales declined from P19.875 billion in 2019 to just P5.706 billion in 2020.

“I advise the PCSO to copy the model of e-sabong.”

The seasoned lawmaker advised the PCSO to copy the model of e-sabong, which has a ready ecosystem that is earning big revenues.

“The e-payment, the digital trail, and the efficiency of win payouts are remarkable for that sector. I strongly suggest that you work with the sector, so we can make the STL more transparent and efficient. I suspect some agents are still underreporting,” he said.

Salceda also urged the agency to conduct audits of the 56 STL operators in the country, estimating that the uptake from legal and underground STL would be around P200 billion annually and that only about 10 percent is captured by the STL system.

“If you digitize and work with existing models, I assure you, you will see STL revenues for medical assistance grow. Because the system will be more transparent and harder to defraud,” he concluded.


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