December 4, 2010
Tap PCSO earnings to augment SUCs' shrinking budget
Cash-strapped state universities and colleges (SUCs) may have to depend on state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which is posting record sales due to renewed public confidence on its lotto product, to augment its shrinking budget every year, Sen. Ralph G. Recto said yesterday.
Recto, Senate ways and means chair, said SUCs could be eligible to become one of the "beneficiaries" of the 30 percent of revenues that PCSO sets aside for charity work.
According to Recto, since PCSO is now under the direct control and supervision of the Office of the President, the chief executive could consider earmarking another 10 percent of the agency's income to support "financially sick SUCs."
"Aside from helping the poor and the sick, there could still be room to accommodate one more 'patient' -- SUCs suffering from fiscal cancer," he said.
"State college education is also a serious charity case," Recto added.
This, Recto said, was only one example of how to tap funding sources to support financially troubled SUCs "without having to overhaul the budget or send angry students out on the streets."
He stressed with the latest sales registered by PCSO in the run-up to the P741 million "Grand Lotto" draw recently, which reports indicate to have breached P1.4 billion, the state-owned agency may have just broken its sales record in the previous years.
"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.
From P9 billion sales recorded in 2006, the aggregate lottery sales of PCSO's accredited operators have grown to P23 billion in 2009.
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.
The senator stressed PCSO could carve out a dedicated "SUCs fund" from its yearly income that would go directly to the 112 SUCs around the country and help boost its meager budget, which would amount to P22.017 billion in 2011.
He added a "Grand Campus Lotto" draw may also be held every semester wherein part of the proceeds or sales would go to SUCs.
"Instead of capping the lotto pot, let's channel the excess money energy to more useful missions such as augmenting the outlay of state campuses," Recto said.
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