PCSO extension of STL licenses subject to President’s approval

THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) wishes to clarify recent reports saying that it has extended the licenses of Small-Town Lottery (STL) authorized agent-corporations (AACs).

The PCSO emphasizes that any and all such extensions are subject to the President’s approval. All STL “authority to operate” or licenses will expire on June 30.

The PCSO Board recently approved a three-month extension of operations of 19 STL AACs. In its Resolution 122, series of 2013, the board found “merit and sufficient legal basis” in the recommendation of the PCSO’s Online Lottery Sector, which monitors the operations of STL AACs, to extend operations because “their immediate termination will result in the proliferation of illegal bookies and illegal-numbers games, decrease in the Charity Fund due to loss of sales of contribution and unemployment of the more than 140,000 bet collectors employed by the STL corporations.”

This interim extension was approved, since the PCSO is refining the final version of the agency’s Loterya ng Bayan (PLB) game with the Office of the President. The PLB Implementing Rules and Regulations are also subject to the approval of the President.

There are currently 19 PCSO-accredited STL AACs operating in 14 out of the country’s 81 provinces: 17 in Luzon and two in the Visayas. There are no STL operations in Mindanao.

STL  AACs employ a total of 142,395 sales supervisors and agents who in 2011 and 2012 helped annual STL gross revenues reach more than P4 billion, or over P8 billion for those two years.

Income from STL operations allowed the charity agency to pay off the previous PCSO Board’s tax arrears of P4 billion, apart from contributing substantially to the Charity Fund that allocates financial assistance to individuals and institutions for medical and health care-related concerns.

***

With the start of the rainy season comes a renewed awareness of the need for heightened flood-control management, along with enhanced infrastructure that will mitigate the inconveniences and hazards of flooding in the city.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which celebrated its 115th anniversary on June 20, released last week a report on its flood-management master plan for Metro Manila and surrounding areas.

The area studied for the report—which encompasses all of Metro Manila and surrounding areas, including Rizal and Laguna, as well as parts of Bulacan—has a total area of 435,400 hectares, which the report notes is “seven times the size of Metro Manila and two-thirds that of Singapore,” and has an estimated population of 17.14 million.

The DPWH’s flood-management master plan provides recommendations for both structural (dams, dikes, spillways, dredging, excavation, river-wall construction, etc.) and non-structural measures (community-based flood-risk management in communities through land use and solid-waste management, reforestation and watershed development, etc.).

According to the DPWH, 11 shortlisted structural-mitigation measures, estimated to cost P351.73 billion, will “serve as the road map of the government” for implementation “from today until 2035 [23 years].” These measures, however, are “still subject to validation” through feasibility studies.

Meanwhile, even as the government fast-tracks flood-control measures, people should also seek to minimize health risks during the rainy season.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said floods carry two types of communicable diseases: water-borne (typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A) and vector-borne (malaria, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile fever).

Other water-borne diseases “may be contracted through direct contact with polluted waters, such as wound infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and ear, nose and throat infections.”

To minimize health risks, the WHO recommends the chlorination of water (or ensuring a source of clean and uncontaminated drinking water), vaccination against hepatitis A, malaria prevention and health education (that promotes “good hygienic practices,” ensures “safe food-preparation techniques” and emphasizes “the vital importance of early diagnosis and treatment for malaria”).

Through the decades, Filipino have developed “rule of thumb” methods of protecting themselves from health risks posed by inclement weather. These are, more or less, good hygienic practices.

These include using umbrellas, raincoats, and other wet-weather gear as protection; not going out when it is raining or waiting for the rain to stop before traveling; taking a hot bath upon reaching home; drinking citrus juices such as calamansi and/or taking vitamin C supplements; and others taught by our mothers and other family members.

Most of these are pretty simple and obvious, but are often neglected or shrugged off. “Health is wealth” and “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” are popular sayings that may have become cliché but remain valid.

Atty. Rojas is general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PLG_ITPSOCIALBUTTONS_SUBMITPLG_ITPSOCIALBUTTONS_SUBMITPLG_ITPSOCIALBUTTONS_SUBMITPLG_ITPSOCIALBUTTONS_SUBMITPLG_ITPSOCIALBUTTONS_SUBMIT