MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is waiting for Malacañang’s order to suspend the operation of the small town lottery in Isabela province following allegations of violation of health and safety protocols as well as existence of unlicensed STL operators.
Being under the Office of the President, the PCSO leaves it to President Duterte to decide to either stop or continue the STL operation in the province, according to PCSO general manager Royina Garma.
“We respect the decision of the local government. However, the PCSO is under the Office of the President. We will have to wait for a directive from the Palace,” Garma told journalists recently.
In a joint hearing of the House committees on good government and accountability, and games and amusement on Tuesday, lawmakers questioned Garma regarding the continued operation of PCSO’s authorized agent corporation (AAC) in Isabela, despite a closure order issued by Gov. Rodolfo Albano III and Cauayan Mayor Bernard Faustino Dy.
Isabela Rep. Faustino Dy V, who sought an inquiry into the matter, said a majority of the province’s COVID cases were bet collectors of STL operator Sahara Games and Amusement Philippines Corp.
Dy said Sahara was found to be operating without a business permit and license from the provincial and city governments.
In his speech, Dy said STL bet collectors go around towns and cities, and could easily contract and spread the COVID virus.
He said as of Feb. 8, Cauayan had 601 COVID cases, 188 of whom were employees of an STL operator.
The town of San Marcelino recorded 199 cases, 117 of whom were STL workers, Dy said.