NEGROS Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has ordered a stop to the Small Town Lottery (STL) in the province, as he believes it is operating illegally.
Degamo issued the order after learning from the Senate inquiry that an STL franchise per se is legal but there are operations that are taken advantage of by private individuals without permits, thus defrauding the government of the necessary revenues.
As a result, billions of the projected revenues from the operation of STL nationwide are in the hands of illegal operators, Degamo said.
He told Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) branch manager Belena Alvarez that he will put in writing his stand on the operation of the STL in the province in a letter addressed to the new general manager.
Alvarez paid a courtesy call on Degamo on January 25 at the Capitol.
Degamo has directed the police to dismantle STL kiosks, booths, or sub-stations found in the barangays that are operating illegally.
He said he received reports that a lot of private individuals established what looks like an STL kiosks but are in fact receiving bets on the illegal “swertres” and remit the same to their “boss” who allegedly has siphoned all the money.
He said this is the reason why “illegals” in the province wanted him out of office because he is determined to run after them.
But for Alvarez, Four Aces Corporation, being represented by Christopher Santiago, is still the approved franchisee as operators of STL in the province unless superseded or unless they will receive a memorandum from the national office to stop the same.
She said the Four Aces is an Agency Authorized Corporation with a PCSO board approval. Thus, it can’t be accused of operating illegally. However, it has to comply with all the requirements, one of which is for the corporation to remit P21 million in revenues to the PCSO every month.
Records, however, showed it has not complied with this agreement. Alvarez said she was told by the corporation that their revenues are affected by the illegal numbers game “swertres.”
Of the projected revenues of P21 million a month due the government from STL operations in the province, the corporation is remitting only P8 million to P10 million a month, Alvarez told reporters.
However, Representative Arnulfo Teves Jr. clarified that the corporation is not required to remit P21 million a month.
Instead, it is a percentage of the P21 million presumptive monthly retail receipt (PMRR) or from 30 percent to 35 percent of the gross, which is about P7 million, Teves said.
He also clarified that he is not the owner of Four Aces.
Degamo, during a special meeting of the Negros Oriental Provincial Advisory Council of the Philippine National Police, reiterated his warning, telling Provincial Police Director Edwin Portento that he wants the STL stopped. (PNA)