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Grand Lotto winner faces tough security check

- Perseus Echeminada -

MANILA, Philippines - The winner of the P741-million jackpot of the 6/55 Grand Lotto faces tough security check at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) before he could claim his prize.

Before he can enter the new PCSO office at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), he has to register his name and state the purpose of his visit at the guard station.

If he is a prizewinner, he will be asked if he won a minor or a major prize, information that some winners do not want to disclose.

His ticket will then be verified for the winning combination. If the winnings are confirmed, he will be issued a check within two hours.

As policy of the PCSO management, his identity will not be disclosed but will be recorded in the logbook of the PICC and in the CCTV cameras in the compound.

Hitting the lotto jackpot can be both life changing and taxing to the winner, security-wise. Because of this, some winners take some time to claim their prize.

A PCSO source disclosed that the winner of the P201 million Super Lotto jackpot last February carefully planned the claiming of his instant wealth and its expenditure.

The winner of the P210,473,805.60 jackpot prize, waited three months before claiming his prize.

The source said that he first went to the PCSO office along E. Rodriguez Avenue to observe the building. Deciding that claiming the prize so soon may endanger his life, he transferred his family to another residence and went on a mountain climbing retreat to ponder on how to deal with his fortune.

After three months, he surfaced at the PCSO office wearing a wig and large sunglasses.

“He was so cool, he did not create any waves, he presented his winning ticket and upon verification he got the check for his winnings,” the source said.  

He said that upon interview, the winner “was in a state of shock” when he learned he was already a multimillionaire.

The winner casually walked out of the PCSO office. That was the last they saw of him.     

The source also disclosed that in 2008, a 61-year-old construction worker from Novaliches claimed his P249- million jackpot after a weeklong stakeout at the PCSO compound.

On the first day of his surveillance, the winner pretended to seek medical assistance. After observing the procedures at the compound, he and a niece went directly to the office of the chairman to claim his winnings.    

He then bought a house and a car and now lives on the interest of his winnings deposited in a bank.

PCSO can cure ‘fiscal cancer’ of SUCs

PCSO is the main government agency responsible for raising funds for health programs. Its main products are the sweepstakes and lottery games.                                          

Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the Senate committee on ways and means, said Malacañang should consider allocating a portion of the revenues to state universities and colleges (SUCs) that he describes as “suffering from fiscal cancer.”

Control and supervision of the PCSO was recently returned to the Office of the President, giving the administration easier access to its revenues.

Recto said that since the administration has no intention of imposing new taxes, the Palace can earmark 10 percent of PCSO’s income to augment the subsidies for the SUCs.

“Aside from helping the poor and the sick, there could still be room to accommodate one more patient, SUCs suffering from fiscal cancer,” Recto said.

During the congressional deliberations of the proposed P1.645-trillion national budget for 2011, students of the SUCs marched to the streets to protest the supposed cuts in their schools’ budgets. 

Malacañang and administration allies in Congress have said there are no budget cuts to be made.

Several legislators, on the other hand, have called for increase in appropriations for SUCs. 

“State college education is also a serious charity case,” Recto said.                                                                                  

He said that instead of limiting the lotto jackpot to P500 million, as proposed by Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, the huge income of the agency can augment the outlay of SUCs.

This move, he said, would not require an overhaul of the 2011 budget.                                                                          

PCSO sales, courtesy of public demand for the P741- million “Grand Lotto” draw, have reached P1.4 billion.

Recto said the aggregate lottery sales of accredited lotto operators have grown to P23 billion in 2009 from just P9 billion in 2006.

PCSO lotto operator Pacific Online Systems Corp. reported lotto sales of P7.69 billion last year from P6.49 billion in 2008 for its Visayas and Mindanao markets.

Prime Gaming Philippines, Inc., whose unit Prime Gaming Management Corp. operates Luzon lottery terminals, reported sales of P15.7 billion in 2009, up by P1.96 billion from P13.74 billion in 2008.

“Sales could further treble if every bettor is made aware that the purchase of a lotto ticket is also helping send an Iskolar ng Bayan to school,” Recto said.

He also suggested holding a “Grand Campus Lotto” draw every semester where part of the proceeds would go to SUCs.With Marvin Sy

BEN EVARDONE

BILLION

EASTERN SAMAR REP

GRAND LOTTO

LOTTO

PCSO

SUCS

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