Iloilo STL operators could lose franchises

ILOILO City – The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) may terminate the contracts of its Small Town Lottery (STL) authorised agent corporations (AACs) in this city and Iloilo province for failing to pay their dues.

Iloilo province’s STL operator Red Subay Gaming Corp.’s dues have reached P400 million while that of Iloilo City’s ZFIC Gaming Corp., P300 million, according to PCSO general manager Royina Garma who was here yesterday.

“The bond they posted would be forfeited and mate-terminate na ‘yung authority nila to operate STL. We will terminate the contracts so we can open the areas sa ibang corporations that can deliver on their commitments,” Garma told reporters.

She slammed the STL operators for making it appear that PCSO is to blame for their difficulty in paying their dues.

“Kasalanan nila, sila ang nag-bid eh. Mayabang. Lagi nilang sinasabi malaki ang monthly dues. Sino ba nag set ng amount? It was them. They thought they could request for a reduction. How could they? There is a contract already and the Commission on Audit will definitely not accept any reduction,” said Garma.

She also stressed that the bidding for STL franchise underwent the right processes.

“We set the minimum amount. Mayabang, sabi nila ‘kaya ko’, dinoble pa seguro. Eh hindi naman pala kaya. Ngayon sisingilin sila, they will blame PCSO? Excuse me. They should never blame the PCSO because we never asked for that amount. It was them who actually gave the commitment that they could deliver,” Garma added.

The PCSO general manager, a former police official, also said she knew what was going on in STL operations in the grassroots.

“Pulis din ako, galing ako sa baba. Alam ko kung kumikita or hindi kaya hindi nila ako pwedeng lokohin. Inuuna pa kasi nila ‘yung binibigay outside eh. I was telling them na you better pay first what is due to the government because you have a contract,” said Garma.

The PCSO general manager also said STL operators whose contracts are terminated would no longer be allowed to bid for another or new STL franchise.

“Bawal na to reapply, even the incorporators. Kahit mag-create pa sila ng bagong STL corporation and apply to operate in another area, hindi na pwede. ‘Yan ang instruction ng Presidente. Eh niloko na nga tayo payag ba kayo? May utang sila sa atin tapos papalitan lang ang name, apply sila ulit?” she said.

Red Subay Gaming Corp. and ZFIC Gaming Corp. have not resumed operations even after President Rodrigo Dutere lifted on Aug. 22 his order suspending STL. This was because they failed to meet the conditions to resume operation. The conditions were:

* The AACs shall deposit to the PCSO a cash bond equivalent to three months of the PCSO’s share in the guaranteed monthly retail receipts (GMRR) on top of their existing cash bonds.

* Upon failure to timely and fully remit their GMMRR during the duration of operations, the AAC’s cash bond equivalent to three months of the PCSO’s share in the GMMRR shall be automatically forfeited in favor of PCSO, without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government.

* Each AAC shall execute a written undertaking that it shall comply with its obligations under the STL agency agreement and will not institute any claims, monetary or otherwise, against the government and or apply for a temporary restraining order or injunction from any court to prevent the government from exercising its rights and prerogatives.

* The STL agency agreement shall automatically be terminated upon violation of the conditions of their franchise and or any of the above conditions without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government.

The President suspended PCSO games STL, lotto, Keno, and Perhayan ng Bayan on July 26 due to alleged “massive corruption” in the agency and some authorized agent corporations or franchisees. He ordered an investigation.

Five days after, on July 31, he allowed the resumption of lotto games.

Duterte lifted the suspension on STL operations on Aug. 22./PN


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