Trivia about the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has been one of the country’s symbols of life and hope for the marginalized sector of the population. Because of their mandate to provide assistance to various health and social welfare programs, the PCSO has pursued humanitarian goals and objectives by raising funds through sweepstakes and lotteries since its establishment in 1935.
Lotteries have been thriving in the country as early as 1833. Under the auspices of the private enterprises called Empresa de Lotteria Espanolas Filipinas, the Spanish government conducted lotteries to generate revenues. With the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, the lotteria was forced to stop its operations.
In 1932, the concept of the sweepstakes was reborn through a draw done by the government to raise funds for the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF). Because of its success, institutionalizing the sweepstakes became the new venture of raising funds for the promotion of public health and general welfare and by September 1935, the new agency held its first official draw. As the sweepstakes grew, the government further expanded PCSO’s role by amending its charter. Under such amendment, the monetary allocation for the agency’s charity fund was elevated and the draws were now held every week all year round.
The primary objective of the sweepstakes is to provide funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character. Beneficiaries of these services are victims of natural catastrophes like floods, typhoons, earthquakes, eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, livelihood programs, epidemic outbreaks (SARS, Avian flu, Swine flu) and medical assistance to the poor in general.
As the sweepstakes grew in time, the PCSO was compelled to add new services and games to keep the public attuned to the draws. One such gimmick was the Sweepstakes Small Town Lottery (STL) in order to prevent people from patronizing an illegal numbers game like “jueteng”, which already had a big following at that time.
Furthermore, to ensure the security of the lotto, there was live television coverage and innovative security schemes that were implemented. By the time the PCSO caught up with the technology in the early 90s, the online lotto was introduced to bring a new dimension of fun and excitement for the betting public.
When the lotto and sweepstakes brought in more revenues, this paved the way for the expansion of medical and social services for the public. One example is the PCSO Charity Clinics project, which brought free medical and dental services to the depressed area of Metro Manila, and these services have gone as far as Sorsogon in the South and Isabela in the North. There is also the clinic’s outpatient department, which gives assistance to thousands of indigent, patients at the Quezon Institute Compound in Quezon City. Aside from free consultations, the PCSO is able to give free minor surgical procedures and ambulance services to poverty-stricken Filipinos.
Cognizant of the rising cost of health care, PCSO has intensified its medical assistance program. From its inception in 1993, it has expanded assistance and served a total of 477,029 indigent patients for a total amount of pesos 11.4B fund assistance. A holistic approach in aiding patients has been adapted to rationalize support.
One of their programs, the Endowment Fund Program is the provision of funding assistance directly to hospitals and other health agencies to make medical support more accessible to charity patients. It started in 1993 and was designed to be more responsive in providing assistance to charity patients. The fund is readily available in the partner agency to immediately address the health needs of the patients, according to established guidelines. From 1993 to 2008, a total of 1,169 health agencies have been provided Endowment Funds to the amount of P1.09B.
In partnering with the Dept. of Health, PCSO has helped eradicate Pulmonary Tuberculosis by reaching out to the unserved as well as the underserved in the Metropolis and neighboring provinces by making available PTB drugs for the prescribed treatment period. Recognizing this urgent need, the PTB program was implemented in 1998 and has treated in 1998 and has treated a total of 4,987 patients.
PCSO has also embarked on a program for indigent Special Children with special needs and disabilities. The program offers ample and holistic services to children with special needs. PCSO boast of the fact that they are the only agency that offers neuro developmental services to special children for free. From 2004 up to the present, the program has covered 3,613 Special Children who availed of a total of 15,645 various services and interventions.
True to its commitment, the PCSO provides financial assistance to the National Government. Local Government, Non-Government Organizations, Socio-Civic Groups and other institutions who undertake charity, pro-poor programs and activities particularly in the areas of health, medical and welfare through the institutional Financial Assistance Programs.
The Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office is indeed here to stay-caring, sharing and improving the lives of the Filipino people by the millions.