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Relearning public interest

The position of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan on the funds used for the agency’s alleged “grandiose” Christmas party, which was expressed during last week’s Senate inquiry on PCSO is, at the very least, disturbing.

When questioned about the propriety of spending more than P6 million for the agency’s Christmas party held in a five-star hotel, GM Balutan pointed out that the money spent was not even taxpayers’ money as the same technically came from the “betting public.”

Clearly, such position of GM Balutan missed the point by a mile, so to speak.

The fact about the money spent by PCSO for its Christmas party is simple – it belongs to the public. It does not matter from who the funds came from – taxpayers or betting public. As such money is with the PCSO, which is a government entity, and as such said money belongs to the public and should be used to serve the interest of the public.

GM Balutan should be reminded about the basic principles of democracy and representative government – power and public resources belong to the people and the government represents the people and should use the power and resources entrusted to it by the people in serving the interests of the true masters in a democracy – the people.

Such principles are the foundation of all laws, rules, and regulations of the government and as such, they should be the foundations of the operations of all government agencies, including the PCSO.

The logic is simple – if PCSO did not spend R6 million for its Christmas party, where should that sum of money go?

The R6 million could have and should have been spent for the charity programs of PCSO, which is its core mandate.

Was such “grandiose” Christmas party a way for PCSO to fulfill its mandate?

PCSO does not have a “license” to spend its funds however way it wishes simply because the same came from the “betting public” and not from the taxpayers.

The responsibility of the agency, as part of the democratic representative government of the Philippines, is to use such money in serving the interests of the Filipino people. The only way for PCSO to claim the propriety of such expense is for it to prove that a R6-million Christmas party is in the best interest of the people.

Obviously, the leaders of PCSO need to relearn the real essence of a government that exists to serve the interest of the people.