By Jel Santos
The allocation for the Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for November and December almost doubled after around P1 billion unclaimed traditional sweepstakes prizes were forfeited and transferred to the agency’s Charity Fund.
This was recently disclosed by PCSO General Manager Royina Marzan-Garma, saying more people in dire need will receive assistance because of this.
IMAP is the flagship project of PCSO that includes services such as financial assistance for hospital bill, chemo/radiation and dialysis treatments, and other medical services to patients who need immediate financial assistance.
PCSO said the forfeited prizes were from traditional sweepstakes: Lotto, Keno, Six-digit Games. Scratch It tickets, meantime, are not included.
“The unclaimed winnings were automatically forfeited a year after the winners failed to claim their prizes. This is in accordance with our Charter. All the forfeited prizes immediately went to our Charity Fund where we get the allocation for IMAP,” she said.
“Our Charity Fund went up so the allocation for IMAP for November and December was also increased, almost doubled. That’s more or less P1 billion worth of unclaimed prizes. That includes major prizes and consolation prizes or balik-taya,” Garma added.
The IMAP was given more allocation after PCSO’s Charity Fund increased due to the forfeiture of the unclaimed prizes.
According to Garma, some of the bettors who buy lotto tickets usually don’t check whether they won or not as they are purchasing just to do charity.
“Most of our bettors buy lotto tickets because they just want to help. It is because they know that PCSO’s charity program helps a lot of our poor kababayans who do not have money to buy medicines or get confined in hospitals,” she said.
A large chunk of PCSO’s earnings go directly to charity as mandated by law.
“At least 85 percent of our earnings go to charity as we are mandated by law to assist our kababayans in dire need of help,” Garma stressed.
She urged the public to continue patronizing PCSO products. “Your generosity helps our countrymen in need. When you buy a ticket, it is not gambling, it is charity with a chance to become a millionaire,” said Garma.