Former PCSO Director Manoling Morato- Designated spokesperson for the past PCSO board

Manuel “Manoling” Morato spent a couple of hours with Blog Watch last June 17 for the second time and gave this press statement. The event was attended by Arlene Mariposque of Calamba Press, Rochelle Chua, Juned Sonido, Angelo Louisse Lopes, Dean Jorge Bocobo, Leslie Bocobo, Wenchie Saban- Flores, Noemi Lardizabal- Dado and Grace Bondad- Nicolas.

Close to php5 billion in cash and properties were turned over by the previous leadership of the Philippine Charity sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to it’s successors, dousing allegations of bankruptcy and mismanagement peddled by the current PCSO board of directors, headed by it’s chair Margarita Juico.

Manuel Morato, who served as chairman in the administration of Pres. Fidel V. ramos and director of PCSo during Pres. Gloria macapagal Arroyo’s administration, told the Balitaan sa Rembrandt media forum that php3.359 billion and $5.944 million in cash were left behind intact in two banks and a 1.5 hectare property in Manila worth php1 billion now is under the ownership of PCSO.

“How could the PCSO be bankcrupt?” asked Morat, who questioned the motives of Juico and company in persecuting before the public the previous PCSo officials. “definitely, this is their malicious way of covering up their guilt for widrawing medical assistance to the sick and the needy. We stand by the truth.”

The truth according to Morato, there are many more lead assets, materials and equipment, including ambulance units for donation program, that were turned over to the Juico-led board, plus a 37-year live contract with the Quezon Institute for the free use of its offices which was abruptly terminated by the new board.

Morato explained that the charity funds, prizes and operational expenses are not lumped together but are booked as three distinct accounts each with separate sets od accountin books that claims of fund juggling are atrocious if not “a futile product of Juico’s fertile imagination.”

“the truth is the Commission on Audit (COA) regularly conducts spot cash audit in various PCSO departments,” said Morato, who expressed dismay and pity to the continued refusal of Juico to extend support to heart, liver, chemotherapy to cancer patients and dialysis for kidney patients as well as other sick patients.

Morato also defended the entry of the Philippines gamin management Corporation (PGMC) as the service provider of PCSO’s lotto operations, saying the contract passed extensive reviews and court litigations which lasted for two years, including the scrutiny and approval of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Arbitral Tribunal.

The old machines use 386 processors. If you don’t know what this is, ask your children. This is technology and to use it after 2004 would be to assume a worse business practice rather than the best business practice. Its use would risk the sustainability of PCSO revenue growth. The old computers were compatible only with leased telecom lines; telecoms service providers had already switched to GPRS and other wireless devices and so did everyone else in IT industry. The average daily sales in 2004 was about Php23,566,389.04 and the average daily sales in 2010 is about Php 50,514,969.86. these figures represent the potential loss if the machines are inoperable on one day. Try asking your loved ones or staff to use a 386 processor. What qualification do the critics have to make this business judgement?

The critics think that technology is free and need not be constantly upgraded. Even elementary school children that technology rapidly improves and upgrades are necessary and must be paid for. Try to convince your child to use a 3-year-old cellphone or a 5-year-old computer. The critics irresponsibly propose that technology need not be upgraded or that it should be rejected if upgrade has a cost. For PCSO the cost of purchasing the old equipment for 25 million pesos and not upgrading equipment would be to forego the eventual increase in annual revenue from 11.7 billion pesos in 2007 to 18.4 billion in 2010 and possibly even suffer a decline of revenue. It is this kind of laud and uninformed bravado from public figures that prevents Filipinos from having a competitive mindset or a best business practice. Fortunately, the old PCSO board chose to do their work quietly and diligently.

As a result of the upgrades and lease extension, PCSO annual revenues grew from 11.7 billion pesos in 2007 to 18.4 billion in 2010 (only for Luzon) or an average annual growth rate of about 16% If we are to include Pacific Online for Visayas and Mindanao ( a separate system supplier), it would total to about php27 B for 2010. Both system suppliers upgraded their machines at no cost to the PCSO.

Sales of PCSO plateaued at below 12 billion pesos during the years 2004- 2007, and would not be able to increase if the equipment was not upgraded to accommodate faster transactions and more games. During the period of use of the old machines, from 1994 to 2006 PCSO revenue grew from 2.6 billion to 11.9 billion or multiplied more than 4 times in 12 years. While the old machines had served its purpose, it would no longer support the growth in revenue that the new machines eventually provided.

The critics do not understand that upgrading to modern information technology is not an option. Periodic upgrading is the necessity for any business. They want to keep the capability of PCSO in the ancient age. Who are they to want to hold back PCSO from being world –class? Doesn’t the public deserve a world-class lottery operation?

May I emphasize that had we stopped the two system suppliers, the PCSO would had to go into international bidding that would have taken two (2) years to realize. Doesn’t the new PCSO board realize the consequences on the lotto in the Philippines? We would have had to stop the lotto gaming for at least two years while the international bidding is going on.

The joint venture agreement with the TMA Group of Companies of Australia for the production of thermal papers and bet slips for lotto operation is very advantageous to the PCSO which will not spend a single centavo but stands to share 20% of profits in the project.

“Not a single centavo from the government,” stressed Morato who added that the joint venture could well ante-date the administration’s ublic-private partnership flagship program as it passed through rigid review and legal procedures following strictly the guidelines of the national Economic development authority (NEDA) who found it “one of the best government contract we have ever reviewed on the laws of the joint ventures; and the favorable opinion of the OGCC that even awarded the PCSO a trophy for going into a most advantageous contract for the government.”

Among others, TMA’s unsolicited proposal which was subjected to a public Swiss challenge and thorough study by PCSO’s technical working group, wa sprompted by the unreliable supply of imported thermal papers and the scheduled end of the supplies contract by September this year.

“We cannot sacrifice the integrity of the thermal paper which is the life-blood of the lotto games. Once the trust of the betting public is ruined, there goes your lifetime investment in lotto,” explained Morato, adding illegal numbers game will again proliferate once lotto’s operations cease.

Morato said TMA, which has plant facilities located in New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria and Brisbane all in Australia and in New Zealand and Shanghai, China, is investing more than php4.4 billion to finance the first thermal coating plant in the country for sale of its products here and abroad. It is the same thermal paper that won the international bidding in 1993 when chairman Mita Pardo de tavera, my predecessor, was the PCSO Chairman. President ramos appointed me PCSO chaiman in 1994. That Mark Sensing (now TMA) contract was already in effect when I took over.

Morato added that the projected congressional inquiry being readied in the Lower House will unravel the truth behind the well-orchestrated shame campaign and baseless allegations being manufactured by Juico and her allies in the PCSO now.

In all this, I was informed by some Commission on Audit employees na kaya pala daw magaganda lamang na COA report ang ipinalalabas ni PCSO Chairman Margie Juico ay dahil “ kinatay-katay nila ang COA report for their first year 2010/2011.” I was told na tinanggal daw ang mga masasamang report at inilabas lang ang gusto nila. In other words, pinilian at hinimay at kinatay ang COA Report to favor the present PCSO management.

No wonder even Secretary lacierda is singing out of tune. He mentioned on ANC na P1.9 M lamang daw ang rental sa PICC. Nakatipid raw ang PCSO sa paglipat. Pero 500 employees lang ng PCSO out of the 1,200 ang nagkasya sa pICC. ‘yong 700 were farmed out to satellite offices all over Metro Manila. Hiwa-hiwalay. Samantalang sa PCSO office sa Quezin Institute kasya lahat ‘yong 1,200 PCSO employees with 6.5 hectare land prior pa for only P2.3 M grant.

Sa PICC may bayad ang parking kasi concessionaire ang nagpapatakbo ng parking. Sa Quezon Institute, libre lahat. At one stop-shop pa for the patients and for everybody who does business with the PCSO.

Sa ngayon, ang PCSO ay may office sa PICC, sa Quezon City Hall Waste Management, sa San Marcelino, sa Camp Aguinaldo at kung saan pang impyerno.

P6.5M raw ang gastos ngayon ng PCSO sa PICC at sa lahat ng satellite offices and facilities. At over one hundred million pala daw ang ginastos sa paglipat sa PICC.

Kayo na po ang maghusga kung tama itong pinaggagawa ni Chairman Margie Juico.

Isa pa ang “success” na kini-claim nya ay galing sa aming ginawa sa nakaraang administrasyon- ang 6/55 grand Lotto na nagpasok ng malaking kwarta without their lifting a finger.

Kung wala pala ‘yong 6/55, on the red pala sana ang PCSO ngayon by at least P500 M.

So anong “success” ang kini-claim nila?

They are a total failure; and they killed so many sick patients along the way.

Recorded video of #blogwatch chat with Manoling Morato