Train law earns up to P1-B monthly tax from PCSO

THE government is set to earn up to P1-billion monthly taxes from the various lottery games of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

This is based on the 20-percent tax increase set by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (Train) law, said PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan on February 19.

“Sa buwan-buwan na ipinapatong sa [PCSO] na tax, nang kinumpyot namin dati-rati ang ibinibigay namin na tax mula sa lahat ng ating lottery games ay P500 million. Ngayon, aabot na ng P1 billion (When we computed the monthly taxes for PCSO from lottery, it was at P500 million. Now, it will reach P1 billion),” Balutan said in an ambush interview.

Winnings on the lottery games such as Lotto, Ken, Small Town Lottery, and Sweepstakes are affected by the 20 percent tax law.

Balutan said the P1-billion tax could be higher based on revenue projections of PCSO this year that could reach up to P60 billion or more.

“With the aggressive expansion of our STL, having more than 81 Authorized Corporations (AACs) now playing nationwide, and our Lotto games continue to progress with more than 10,000 outlets nationwide and more outlets to be created, PCSO is becoming a very potent tax contributor to the coffers of the national government,” he added.

In 2017 alone, PCSO reported an earning of almost P53 billion, a quantum leap from the P39 billion earning in 2016. Very crucial was the STL revenues that posted almost P16 billion from a mere P4.7 billion yearly from the two previous administrations.

Soon after former Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte became president, PCSO through Balutan and former PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz expanded the AACs from 18 to 56 and then to 83 at the end of 2017. The PCSO board had approved a total of 92 AACs.

Balutan said that for 15 years, the STL operation was stalled and manipulated by big-time gambling lords for their jueteng, swertres, masiao, pares, and other forms of illegal numbers game to flourish unabated.

But just recently, the board terminated the authorization of Evenchance Gaming Corporation playing STL in Camarines Sur due to various violations of the STL Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

“We’re looking into five more erring AACs for possible suspension or termination of their authorization to play STL. But we don’t want also to create a vacuum in areas where AACs were under suspension or their authorization to play STL terminated because malamang susulpot ang mga ilegal na laro diyan. Ito ang pipigilan natin kaya magpapa-re-bid agad tayo sa mga interested groups o korporasyon na gustong makakuha ng otorisasyon para maglaro ng STL,” Balutan said.

“I am not intimidated by the vilification campaign against our STL in the media. All we have to do is accept the fact that we have not yet perfected the system for our STL. What is important is to accomplish our mission set by the President to eradicate jueteng and all forms of illegal numbers game through STL. We are so much focused on this goal and we will do it,” he added. (PR)


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