MANILA, Aug. 2 — A leader in the House of Representatives on Wednesday stressed the need to impose stricter rules and regulations on the operation of the Small Town Lottery (STL) being run by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
During a public hearing on the proposed 2018 national budget, House Appropriations Committee chair Karlo Nograles said the present set-up of the STL operations could only become fronts of illegal gambling lords to legitimize their operations.
“The STL operations were allowed by law to eliminate illegal gambling. Sad to say, it has become a convenient front for the proliferation of illegal gambling like jueteng,” Nograles said.
Nograles warned that the government is still losing a lot of potential revenues because some of these STL franchise holders are the very people who used to run illegal gambling operations like “jueteng”.
“The PCSO chairman (Jose Jorge Corpuz) admitted during our second day open public hearing on the 2018 national budget that in some areas, some STL operators are raking in PHP400 million daily but only declare PHP100 million,” Nograles said.
Nograles stressed the need to review the PCSO charter including the guidelines covering the grant of franchises for STL.
“There is the need to review the PCSO charter, its rules and regulations relative to the grant and operation of franchises to pinpoint legal loopholes that are used by concerned parties to cover their illegal gambling activities that deprive government of much needed funds to fuel the government,” he said.
“We need to dig deeper and sanitize the rules and procedures in the operation of STL. We need to ensure that these so-called gaming lords are no longer doubling as gambling lords,” Nograles said.
Corpuz said there are now 92 STL operators that have been accredited from the original figure of 18.
STL retail receipts for the first semester this year is PHP6.17 billion as compared to last year’s PHP2.47 billion.