THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Friday warned the operators of the Peryahan ng Bayan that they will be criminally prosecuted if they do not stop using the agency’s name and logo in their operations.
In a press statement, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said the agency has received reports that the outlets of the controversial Peryahan ng Bayan continue to use the name and logo of the PCSO in their operations causing public confusion.
Balutan reiterated that the PCSO has already terminated in March 2016 the deed of authority (DOA) it issued to PNB, operated by Globaltech Mobile Online Corp., but the lottery continues to operate illegally.
“Using the PCSO logo to look legitimate in the eyes of the betting public is illegal. Globaltech has no right to use the PCSO logo as PNB is no longer authorized by the agency,” Balutan said adding that he will not allow the abuse and use the agency’s name in any form of illegal activities.
“What Globaltech is doing is a big insult to the agency’s name as PNB is operating illegally, competing unfairly with the only authorized and legal numbers game of PCSO, which is the Small Town Lottery (STL),” he added.
The PCSO has authorized 82 companies to operate STL in their localities and they have gone through great lengths to comply with PCSO requirements. But they are now suffering losses in revenue because of the continued operation of the PNB in different parts of the country.
“We have to protect the STL operations as this bring huge impact in the revenues of PCSO,” Balutan said, adding that operators of STL from different parts of the country are appealing to the PCSO to stop the operation of PNB which unfairly competes with the STL operation contrary to public interest.
Balutan said funds generated from the STL contribute a significant amount to support the Duterte administration’s health programs and services for the poor and the marginalized.
“STL is the second highest earning product of PCSO next to Lotto. We’ve gained P21.9 billion sales from January to October this year, and that’s from STL alone,” Balutan said adding that 30 percent of these revenues automatically go to agency’s charity fund.
The PCSO is relentless in its campaign against illegal gambling that has been a “scourge of this country for the longest time.”
Last November, a total of 57 bet collectors of PNB were arrested when the National Bureau of Investigation raided several outlets of PNB in Quezon City, while 40 were arrested in the cities of Mandaue and Cebu following to the complaint received by PCSO from its Authorized STL Agents (ASAs).
Despite the dismissal of the cases filed by NBI against the Globaltech employees before the Department of Justice, Balutan stood firm that the PNB is illegal and will not be intimidated by the DOJ resolution from implementing crackdowns against PNB.
At the same time, Balutan appealed to the backers of PNB to stop protecting illegal gambling lords by raising fake issues against the PCSO.
“When we expanded the STL operations, we already anticipated some form of resistance, and that the PCSO will be under fire and undermined by those who benefit from illegal gambling. But as the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for charity, we will continue to do what we think will boost our revenues which will benefit thousands of Filipinos,” Balutan said.