Let PCSO generate much needed funds -- solon

A neophyte solon is urging government to let the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) resume operation through secure and fraud-free interactive mobile lottery games.

Ang Probinsiyano party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong made the proposal because of the less cashflow and dwindling funds these days the government is providing needed financial assistance to the people.

The entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ong said the PCSO should step up to the plate and contribute in generating funds which can be used in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

After the PCSO has shut down its operations, it has also stopped generating the much needed funds to help shore up the government's capacity to respond to the raging health crisis.

In his proposal, the PCSO shall continue to do business by launching secure and fraud-free interactive mobile lottery games.

These interactive and mobile lottery games can go a long way in raising much-needed cash for the government to support its relief efforts for those who can hardly provide for their daily needs while they are on ECQ.

"Interactive and mobile lottery games can actually be very timely at this time because of the ECQ.  Many people are in their homes doing nothing. Instead of wasting money on some online games to fight boredom, they can actually support PCSO lotteries as their way of contributing in the war effort against this unseen enemy," Ong said.

Ong said that government is losing at least P3.75 billion per month or P125 million per day since PCSO decided to stop operations in the light of the ECQ that was declared last March by President Duterte.

It is estimated that the PCSO makes at least P15 billion to P16 billion every quarter from its various lottery operations. However the absence of regulated and legal operations have allowed illegal and unregulated gambling to multiply and prosper.

Ong suggested that PCSO can deploy  interactive and mobile apps where people can play Sweepstakes, Scratch-it and other forms of lotteries. They can do transactions using various payments schemes such as credit cards, Paypal and virtual wallets like G-Cash, SmartCash, PayMaya and WeChat.

However the PCSO must make sure adequate top-rated network security safeguards are in place  to make sure that their interactive and mobile platform is safe and secure from hacking and other online fraud.

This should be urgently considered by PCSO as the market may not recover even if the ECQ is lifted due to market loss to the illegal and grey market operators. At the very least, funds shall be generated rather than none at all.