PCSO submitted ‘Bingo Milyonaryo’ documents to DILG

Perseus Echeminada - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) complied with the request of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for documents related to the new game “Bingo Milyonaryo.”

PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas yesterday said the PCSO submitted the documents to two lawyers of the DILG on June 6, 2013.

“It is not true that President Aquino ordered PCSO to turn over supervision of the game to DILG and that PCSO refused to surrender documents related to Bingo Milyonaryo,” he said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also dismissed as “speculations” reports that the President was irritated that former PCSO chairman Margarita Juico refused to turn over certain documents to the DILG.

“Walang batayan at purong spekulasyon lamang (No basis and purely speculation),” he said.

A memorandum dated June 11, 2013, a copy of which The STAR obtained, stated that the President warned PCSO officials’ failure to comply with the request “shall be dealt with more severity.”

Rojas said the DILG wrote Juico and the PCSO board on May 22, 2013 asking for the documents so that the department “could complete the review of the government’s policy on anti-illegal numbers games.”

He said Bingo Milyonaryo was also not yet operational at the time.

He said Juico just asked the DILG to designate a point person to handle the request because the PCSO had also received requests from other DILG personnel.

Rojas also denied the alleged conflict between Juico and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, noting that he, along with Juico and PCSO directors Mabel Mamba and Betty Nantes, visited the DILG chief at his office on June 16, 2013.

During the meeting, he said Roxas delegated DILG’s point person with PCSO regarding the Bingo Milyonaryo and its other games.

He said they also took the opportunity to reiterate their request for assistance in stopping the operation of illegal numbers games in various provinces.

The meeting ended with PCSO and DILG ensuring mutual support to achieve common objectives, he said.

Not jueteng

PCSO assistant general manager for gaming and technology Conrado Zabella denied reports that Bingo Milyonaryo is like jueteng or is merely a front for illegal numbers games.

He said Bingo Milyonaryo is a lottery game that originated with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and was transferred to PCSO under an agency-to-agency agreement.

He said this was when Pagcor determined that the game did not fit their product profile of casino-based games but was more related to the sweepstakes office’s online lottery draws.

Bingo Milyonaryo, like lotto games, requires the player to choose certain numbers to play and winning combinations are chosen via draws.

No disruption

Rojas said there would be no disruption in the delivery of service of the PCSO despite the resignation of Juico.

Rojas, also vice-chairman of the PCSO board, is acting chairman until a new chairman is appointed.

In a speech to PCSO employees yesterday morning, Rojas praised Juico for the reforms she implemented “that uplifted the agency’s operations and service delivery,” adding, “we wish her well on her decision to end her stint in public service after her 65th birthday.”

The agency will transfer its offices starting this week from the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City to Sun Plaza, Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong City. The transfer is to allow PICC’s extensive renovation and rehabilitation of its facilities ahead of the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next year.

The Charity Assistance Department, which delivers PCSO’s core service of financial assistance to needy patients, will remain at its present location in the Radiotherapy Building of the Lung Center of the Philippines.

Rojas said plans for constructing a PCSO building on its property along San Marcelino street in Manila will push through and is expected to be completed at the latest by 2017.

“We assure the public that the changes happening in our agency are internal and will not disrupt our delivery of medical- and healthcare-related services. We thank them for their patience and support,” he said.                              â€“ With Delon Porcalla


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