By Lilian C. Melllejor
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte plans to realign funds from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) toward providing more subsidy on medicines and hospitalization as well as education of the people.
Speaking before an estimated 500,000 people who attended the “One-Love, One-Nation Thanksgiving Party #DU31” at the Crocodile Park here on Saturday night, June 4, Duterte said health and education would be his top priorities to address concerns of the people, especially the marginalized ones who cannot afford to pay hospital bills and medicines.
“Ang akong unahon ang (I will prioritize) health from PAGCOR funds which runs into billions. Mao na’y ihatag sa ospital – para sa medisina (That will be given to the hospitals for medicines), hospitalization. I will realign the money towards health and education,” he said, drawing approval from the crowd.
In education, Duterte said he is concerned with the problem now from the aberration created because of the K-12 program. He said there are many students that could run to hundreds who cannot enroll for senior high school and the marginalized teachers who will be out of job because they do not know where to go.
He said he already talked to incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones to address the many problems created by the K-12 program.
Duterte sees the need to construct schools for senior high school students. If there are 20 to 35 students in a barangay, he aims to construct a school in the area so that students do not have to walk 20 to 30 kilometers to a nearest school.
“Ako na mismo ang magdadala ng eskwelahan (I will be the one to bring school to you),” said Duterte, emphasizing that government must keep on spending even on small projects.
During the mayorship of Duterte in Davao, the city government has been recipient of PAGCOR funds, especially on health and education, which is also part of the institution’s corporate social responsibility. The city hosts one casino operation.
In May this year, PAGCOR remitted the highest contribution to the government coffers — a total of P8.86 billion, of which P1.89 billion accounts for cash dividends for 2015.
A PAGCOR press release stated that PAGCOR’s good corporate governance enabled the state-run gaming firm to continuously beat its targets and maintain its position as one of the government’s top-revenue earners.
Report said PAGCOR has been remitting cash dividends to the national government from the ₱1 billion dividends remitted in 2012, making it to the GOCC Elite Circle or the Billionaires’ Club. (PNA)