PAGCOR suspends acceptance of applications for medical assistance
Robie de Guzman • November 13, 2019 • 282
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) on Wednesday announced it will temporarily stop accepting applications for medical financial assistance.
“PAGCOR decided to cease receiving requests for financial assistance following the incident involving a couple who attempted to defraud the agency by submitting spurious documents for fictitious medical cases,” the agency said in a statement.
Under its charter, PAGCOR is mandated to generate revenues for the government’s infrastructure, national development programs, and socio-civic projects, among others.
PAGCOR said the suspects have been arrested by the Manila Police District during an entrapment operation.
The couple is now facing charges for falsification of public documents by a private individual and using false certificates.
“Pending the results of an on-going investigation to the case, the state-run gaming firm freezes its accommodation of requests for medical aid,” the agency said.
“PAGCOR likewise warns against all those who plan to do the same as it is employing meticulous measures to evaluate documents submitted to the agency for financial assistance,” it added.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said it will resume on Monday, Nov. 18 the acceptance of applications for medial financial assistance.
PAGCOR made the announcement on Saturday, a few days after it temporarily stopped the processing of requests following a fraud attempt.
In a statement, the agency said it will again accept walk-in requests for medical financial assistance after it has been verified by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“Under the arrangement, PAGCOR will be able to tap the assistance of PCSO, which has more human and organizational resources and experience in processing requests for medical assistance “ the statement read.
PAGCOR said the PCSO will issue a guarantee letter if the application has been validated.
“The primary objective of enhanced PAGCOR and PCSO coordination is to maximize aid given to each patient, and to harmonize the systems of both agencies,” PAGCOR said.
The move follows the arrest of a couple who were found to have attempted to defraud PAGCOR by submitting fake documents for fictitious medical cases.
The couple has been released for humanitarian considerations but PAGCOR said it will still pursue legal action against the suspects.
PAGCOR further warned that individuals or groups found guilty of fraudulent activities against the agency shall be dealt with strictly in accordance of the law.
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Sandra Cam believes that corruption in the Small Town Lottery (STL) in the country has not stopped despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to lift the suspension of its operation under certain conditions.
“It’s just like a legalized jueteng,” Cam said.
This prompted the official to recommend the transfer of the operation of STL to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
She added that it is still safe to just have the lotto operation remain under the PCSO to help rid the agency of corruption.
“Ibigay na lang sa PAGCOR because gambling naman talaga ang PAGCOR and STL is a gambling [Give the STL to Pagcor because it is really gambling],” Cam added.
Cam also said that she is ready to name the high-ranking officials who are also members of the PCSO board of directors who are involved in corruption in the agency on Tuesday’s scheduled Congressional hearing.
Cam insists that some former officials of the PCSO were also involved in the corruption in the STL operation.
She added that several generals were given permits to operate STL even if they did not pay cash bonds to PCSO.
“I’m not against the military. I’m not against the PNP. I have a lot of friends there. But I don’t like the way the mistahs of General Corpuz and General Balutan na parang ginawa nila, ang PCSO is a private company [who seemed to have made PCSO a private company],” Cam said.
Meanwhile, Cam said that she is also ready to undergo the lifestyle check that the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) will conduct to all PCSO board members brought about by the corruption allegations.
“Ang masasabi ko doon sa mga critics ko [All I can say to my critics is] that I have a 500 million (worth) resort, you can go — I will invite you for free. You check out my place, it’s just a kubo [nipa hut]. Ang aming mga houses doon, cottages are made of kubo [Our houses, cottages there are made of nipa hut],” she added.
Cam further said that she is willing to resign if the corruption issues inside the PCSO will not be resolved within three to four months. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf
The Department of Finance (DOF) has created an inter-agency task force with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in intensifying the imposition of taxes on foreign workers in the country.
DOF Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino noted the increasing number of foreign workers in the country who do not pay taxes.
“It’s not fair to the Filipino worker who is paying taxes regularly when we have foreign nationals working here and not paying taxes. Because they use the same roads. Nakikinabang naman sila sa mga ilaw sa gabi, sa ating mga kalsada, kung anu-ano pang services na meron [They benefit from the electricity, from our roads, and from other services we have],” Lambino said.
The DOF official also said the country can earn 32 billion pesos every year from the tax that can be collected from 138,000 foreign workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) industry.
A data from DOLE shows that 84% of employees of the 182 POGOs that are registered in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) are foreign nationals, most of which are Chinese.
This prompted the task force to come up with a joint memorandum circular which states that the DOLE will not release an alien employment permit to a foreign national who has no tax identification number issued by the BIR.
The DOLE and the BIR will also come up with a database that will set a solid data on the total number of foreign workers in the country and to have a strict monitoring in the taxation of these workers.
The BIR has also issued notices to other POGO providers to remind them to pay taxes that have now reached P4-Billion. (with reports from Harlene Delgado) /mbmf
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