It has always been this column’s policy to give credit where credit is due.
We just learned that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), over a span of one week, garnered two noteworthy awards. First was an excellent rating from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for strict compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA). And according to PCSO chairperson Margie Juico, the award is something to be happy and proud about.
For years, PCSO had been handicapped by poor and inefficient services. Deplorably, it had also been used as a political milking cow and dumping ground for favored politicians. The mandate to maximize and extend charity assistance to the poor had been sideswept, among other things, by these practices.
Juico said that the new PCSO Board has been trying to restore public faith in the agency as the primary government arm for the welfare of the poor. She pointed out that “the tasks have not been easy especially since there are detractors from the outside and within. But I think we have made some significant breakthroughs. The award is meaningful in more ways than one, because it showcases the agency’s very much improved quality of service to its poor clients, especially in their medical needs.”
PCSO, for instance, has set up a central public service office desk which serves as a public assistance and complaints desk. A comfortable waiting area with TV monitors for the queuing system has been designated. Free water for the clients is also daily provided and PCSO employees are under strict orders to extend utmost courtesy and prompt service at all times.
Juico added that to expand PCSO’s services to the provinces, satellite offices are in the works. This will save trouble for the poor in coming to Manila to seek assistance, she said.
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The second citation to PCSO was given by no less than President PNoy for remitting approximately P14.62-billion in taxes to the BIR since 2010. Included in this figure are back taxes from the previous administration. This has made the agency one of the biggest taxpayers in the country.
Without sacrificing efficient service, Juico has also adopted practical cost-cutting measures that have shored up the agency’s resources and enabled it to expand its charity services.
For instance last year, PCSO negotiated with the Philippine Gaming and Management Corporation (PGMC), a Malaysian firm and one of its service contractors to lower its service rates from 10 to 7.5 percent, the service rate of Pacific Online, a local service contractor. Reports said this reduction would ensure huge savings for the agency.
With these developments, it would be good for PCSO to introduce more new games to further increase its revenues and thereby maximize its services. Revenues are flattening from existing games and PCSO has a commitment to increase its revenues. Another new numbers game has been lately introduced called Bingo Milyonaryo. The public should welcome these new games.
We take off our hats to Juico and her hardworking board. They have been running the agency professionally. PSCO could serve as a model for other government offices.
Ala Philippines foundation day
As a proud member, I am honored to announce that the ASEAN Law Association (ALA) of the Philippines is celebrating its foundation day on June 18 with a number of activities to be held at the RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
The celebration marks the founding of ALA Philippines during the ALA General Assembly in Manila in 1980.
According to ALA Philippines chairman and president Avelino Cruz of ACCRA, the event will also launch the preparation for the ALA General Assembly to be held in Manila tentatively set for January 2015, coinciding with the inauguration in the same year of the ASEAN Economic Community under the ASEAN Charter.
Highlight of the June 18 celebration is the Foundation Day cocktail and program to be followed by a piano concert featuring piano virtuoso Dr. Jose Artemio Panganiban III and the Manila Symphony Orchestra performing the Second Piano Concerto of Rachmaninoff, the theme of which was popularized by the song “Full Moon and Empty Arms”.
The president of the ASEAN Law Association, Chief Justice Dr. H.M. Hatta Ali of the Indonesian Supreme Court, will deliver the keynote address for the celebration. He will be accompanied by Deputy Chief Justice Widayatno Sastro Hardjono, Judge Safrullah Sumar, Judge Wenceslalus Tarenten, Judge Prim Haryadi, Swandy Halim, ALA secretary general, Prof. Normin Pakpahan and John Dekson.
The incumbent officers of the ALA Philippine National Committee are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Justice Antonio Carpio (judiciary); PEZA director general Lilia de Lima and Prof. Myrna Feliciano (lawyers in government); Deans Danilo Concepcion and Andres Bautista (teachers of law); and retired Chief Justices Artemio Panganiban and Reynato Puno (representatives at large).
Sen. Edgardo Angara served as the founding president of ALA in 1980 while Sen. Franklin Drilon continues to serve as the chairman of the ALA Foundation. The other officers are Alonzo Ancheta, vice-chairman; Victoria de los Reyes, secretary; Regina Padilla Geraldez, treasurer; Eduardo Hernandez, deputy secretary general; Prof. Myrna Feliciano, editor, ALA Law Journal; Victoria Loanzon, assistant secretary; Zorayda Ruth Andam, assistant treasurer. The members of its advisory council are Sen. Edgardo Angara, Ret. Justice Ricardo Puno, Ret. Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Teresita C. Sison, Ret. Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, and Dean Bartolome Carale.
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