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Rough Cuts | The PCSO’s unremitted nat’l gov’t share

So the decision by President Rodrigo Duterte to shut down the gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was triggered by a Commission on Audit (COA) report that the agency has a multi-billion peso unremitted national government share from its income for the years starting from 1998 to 2016? That is up to the very time that the incumbent President assumed office.

This information was shared to the public by Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go in a statement he gave to media after the nation was startled with the Presidential directive.

Knowing Senator Go to have seemingly remained a close Duterte confidant despite his election to the Senate and the Upper Chamber already in session, what he told about the COA report on the PCSO financial mess is the hard truth.

It’s really very unfortunate that the mess has been kept out of the public consciousness for so long. As a result, the unremitted amount has accumulated over the years. And with the success of the PCSO officials. past and present, to conceal the shenanigan from public knowledge the perpetrators are by this time multi-millionaires already.

But did some of the President’s appointees to influential positions in the PCSO also enjoy their share in the booty most likely coming from the manipulated unremitted income? We suspect they also enjoyed the perks considering that it took three years before the COA findings were made public.

We nevertheless, believe that it could be the President’s latest installed PCSO executives who might have presented to the President the controversial COA findings and confirm the same. After all, the new appointees, one of them former high ranking woman Police Official Rowena Garma, are well aware of the seriousness of Duterte’s campaign against corruption in government.

Be that as it may, how come it took that so long for whoever have confirmed the anomalous practice at the PCSO to report to the President? Was there some subtle intimidations from some influential people that made the few good men at the PCSO cower in fear?

This possibility reminds us of conversations of some people we overheard during the early days of the Duterte administration. We know them to be from Davao and they were discussing of great amount of money to fall on their laps when they succeed in acquiring Small Town Lottery franchise.

We did not bother to listen how as we have in our mindset that the money would come from commissions allowed by the PCSO as provided in the franchise contract.

However, with the present development that has virtually taken the goat out of the President’s patience, we realize that our thought on that conversation soon after his assumption was totally naive.

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Well now, the head of Davao City’s Tourism Operations Office, Regina Rosa Tecson, is complaining that the lack of a tourism master plan is stunting the growth of the city’s tourism industry. And Generose is putting the blame on the delay of the crafting of such plan by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), a national government agency.

According to the City Tourism Operations Office head, the national government has allocated a P10 million funding for the preparation of the City’s Tourism Master Plan last year yet. She said the crafting was already bid out.

Per agreement the group contracted by TIEZA to come up with the city’s tourism master plan was to complete it during the second quarter of 2018. It was started in the first quarter of that year. Unfortunately 2018 already exited. And half way through the current year the master plan has remained unfinished.

Actually this is the problem with agencies that are tasked to assist local governments in endeavors of national importance using national funds. They are so untrusting to the capability of the locals that they not only want to do the tasks themselves but also hold on to the money and to dispose of it themselves.

The result is that the project or projects that are supposed to benefit the locals end up virtually strangled. The beneficiary local government would be at the mercy of the decision makers up the ladder of the concerned national agency.

So, should we be surprised if the Davao City’s Tourism Master Plan that was supposed to be completed in the second quarter of last year would not even materialize during this current and next school year?

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