PCSO OPENS 67TH BRANCH IN AGUSAN DEL SUR
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan leads the ribbon cutting during the opening of the 67th PCSO Branch in Agusan del Sur with Governor Adolph Edward Plaza
Staying true to its promise of bringing the services closer to the people, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has opened its 67th branch in Agusan del Sur recently.
“Napakalayong lugar ito kaya nga dapat magkaroon ng isang branch doon para mabigyan ng tulong ang ating mga kababayan lalong lalo na sa IMAP (Individual Medical Assistance Program) natin na nanghihingi ng pang-confinement, dialysis, chemo, atbp. It’s the 18th branch in Mindanao, 67th branch nationwide,” announced PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan.
Agusan del Sur is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Caraga region in Mindanao. Most, at 75 percent of the labor force, are engaged in agriculture and forestry. Rice, corn, and fruits are among the major agricultural crops.
Caraga in Mindanao is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines. It is home to some 500,000 indigenous people (IPs) who are facing development challenges, due to conflict and degradation of their natural resource base.
In a data from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing of the National Statistics Office, Agusan del Sur is considered as the most populous province in Caraga region. The population of Agusan del Sur in 2015 census was 7000,653 with a density of 70 inhabitants per square kilometer or 180 inhabitants per square mile.
“Doon sa lugar na ‘yun, nag-a-average sila ng 50 patients per day. Kaya tuwang-tuwa sila nung nabigyan natin sila ng pondo. Initially, P50,000 a day. Napakalayong lugar! Medyo alanganin pa ‘yung mga lugar na dadaanan. One hour and a half drive from Butuan City and five-hour drive to Cagayan de Oro,” said Balutan.
“Kaya tuwang-tuwa si Governor [Adolph Edward] Plaza at nakarating tayo doon at napagbigyan ang kanilang kahilingan na magtayo ng branch ng PCSO sa Agusan del Sur. Napunta tayo doon para ihatid personal ‘yung mga tulong ng gobyerno through PCSO kaya malaking pasalamat nila dahil ito ay kailangang kailangan ng mga mamamayan doon,” added Balutan.
Most common requests for medical assistance include common illnesses, hospitalization/confinement, dialysis and chemotherapy sessions.
Balutan revealed that the building was donated by the local government of Agusan del Sur through Gov. Adolf Edward Plaza.
As per Command Operating Budget, the agency is planning to put up four more branches this year. Priority include far-flung areas like Saranggani and Dinagat Islands. The agency is also planning to replace old and dilapidated buildings, and put up new ones.
Earlier, Balutan reported that the agency earned P63.55 billion in 2018, breaching the P60 billion target, but it will not aim higher than that.
“Because of the roll-out of STL nationwide and lotto baka mag-plateu na ito. Baka naisagad na natin. Baka this year, hindina gaanong tataas. Ma-maintain lang natin ‘yung P63.55 billion o umangat lang ng konti eh matindi na ‘yun. There is no possibility na ma-i-angat pa natin ang kakayahan natin. Lakap pa tayo ng pondo through our gaming,” admitted Balutan.
In case the revenues hit plateau, Balutan revealed that the agency is currently studying new gaming proposals, explore new market and systems, or try online games to increase revenues.
“Meron kaming nakasalang na for approval and testing this year para makita natin ang new market. Eto kasing dati nating gaming, kilala na ito ng ating mga mananaya. Titignan natin kasi may bagong nagpo-propose at iba pang sistema ng gaming na tinitignan natin na possibility. And also ‘yung computerization o online na pwede nating i-access sa ating mga cellular phones i-o-offer na din para pwede ng tumaya online,” said Balutan.
On illegal numbers game, Balutan lamented that ‘peryahan ng bayan’ is still insisting.
“Tinatanong ko nga kung saan sila nag-iingreso eh. Kung talagang sinasabi nilang legal sila, saan ba sila nag-iingreso? Ipakita nga nila ang kanilang authority from PCSO? Ang masama nito, ginagamit pa nila ang logo ng PCSO na bawal na bawal sa batas ‘yan,” said Balutan.
At present, cases were already filed on court and the agency has been relentless in conducting raids in response to Lotto and STL operators’ complaints against ‘peryahan ng bayan’.
He also warned operators running for government posts that their illegal activities could disqualify them.
“‘Wag n’yo ng tangkilikin ‘yan. Marami nang nahuli at napakulong d’yan! ‘Yan na nga ang sinasabi ng ating pangulo, next to war on drugs, is war on illegal gambling, especially now elections is nearing. Saan ba kukuha ‘yung ibang mga kandidato ng pondo kundi d’yan sa mga illegal numbers game? Baka ‘yung mga operators na kumakandidato eh ma-disqualify kayo d’yan. ‘Yan din ang sinasabi ng ating Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Eduardo Ano na kapag nahuli kayo madi-disqualify kayo sa illegal numbers game na ‘yan!”
“Saan ba napupunta ang jueteng funds kung hindi napupunta sa kaban ng gobyerno? Sinong nakikinabang d’yan? Samantalang ‘yung legal numbers game talagang touching the lives, healing the Filipino people. Bukambibig na ‘yan ng ating mamamayan ang PCSO,” he added.