By ayan c. mellejor
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) says it is unable to monitor how its lottery winners spend their money, as they understandably become anonymous once they get their prizes.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said that in the first place, the prize is the winner’s personal money.
If he had his way, Balutan said there ought to be an in-house effort at monitoring how its lucky winners invested their money, if at all they have.
There are 80 lottery winners per year; most of them are self-employed. This year alone, there are already 44 new millionaires.
He cited a tricycle driver, who claimed his P120 million prize. He was advised to open a bank ATM account for PCSO to deposit his winning money.
But like other typical winners, the tricycle driver wanted his check instead.
He lamented that most winners are either overly generous or pressured by relatives who demand their share of the bonanza; some simply do not know what to do with their millions.
“Ang maraming pera ay nakakabuti ng ating buhay. Pero ito ay nakakasama din (Money can help improve our life. But it can also make us miserable,” Balutan said in an interview on the sidelines of the PCSO Edituryal at the Royal Mandaya Hotel Thursday.
Florante Solmerin, PCSO Information Officer, said one-day millionaires also allocate their prizes to paying debts and other obligations.
“Ang iba sobrang galante (Others are very generous),” he said, adding that others irresponsibly spend all their money in casinos.
The PCSO allocates 55 percent of its total funds for prizes, 30 percent to charity and 15 percent for its operations.
It generated P24.04 billion from lotto operations from January to September, this year; P3.87 million from the Lotto Express or KENO; P9.22 billion from Small Time Lottery; and, P12.5 million from sweepstakes.
The funds for charity are allocated for ambulance donation program, Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP), which is the biggest shelled out by PCSO at P4.9 billion only for January to September benefitting 225,437 Filipinos who availed themselves of healthcare assistance.