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The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) released more than P3 billion to help the government respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

PCSO general manager Royina Garma said the agency took the initiative to release in advance its dividend payment of P2.2 billion to the Department of Finance for it to be used by the government in its Covid-19 response.

The move is pursuant to Republic Act 7656, which requires government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to declare dividends under certain conditions to the national government, and for other purposes.

"It’s crucial that we all work together with other government agencies to help minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on health systems, social services as well as economic activities,” Garma said in a statement.

While admitting that the agency has no revenue for over two months now due to suspension of games, Garma said this will not stop them from aiding the government and the public.

"That is why when this is all over, I am calling on the public to donate to PCSO by continuously playing Lotto, STL, Keno, Sweepstakes, Scratch-it games," she stressed.

In March, the PCSO Board of Directors approved the release of PHP420 million for anti-Covid-19 measures and assistance to the government.

The amount was turned over to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to help it shoulder the cost of hospitalization of Covid-19 patients.

The PCSO released another PHP447 million as financial assistance to 82 government hospitals across the country as the financial assistance aims to augment the financial capability of the beneficiary hospitals in catering to Covid-19 patients, she said.

She said the coverage of the assistance is limited to Covid-19 cases and shall be used for test kits, reagents, medical/diagnostic equipment, confinement, medicines, laboratory/diagnostic procedures, and personal protective equipment.

To capacitate government hospitals with Malasakit Center in Metro Manila, PCSO released PHP4.2 million as additional daily fund allocation to the Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine General Hospital, Rizal Medical Center and Taguig Pateros District Hospital.

From May 4 to 8, Garma said the agency has approved PHP63,513,546 worth of medical assistance for 6,211 indigent Filipinos across the country.

On Thursday, Garma said the PCSO provided PHP6.2 million worth of medical assistance to 867 eligible indigent beneficiaries nationwide.

Aside from the financial aid to the government and patients, Garma said the agency also extended in-kind assistance such as food packs, alcohol, disinfecting solutions, and masks to some police units in Manila and in Davao.

The agency also lent one of its shuttle service vehicles for front-liners working in the Ortigas area while one ambulance unit was also lent to the quarantine station at the World Trade Center in Pasay City to transport Covid-19 patients.

"The agency, adhering and complying to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, emphasizes and strengthens this auxiliary role especially in providing healthcare to Filipinos, bearing a part of the weight and augmenting government efforts in these strained and challenging times," she said.

The agency can be reached through its hotline numbers: 0917-880-7150/ 0927-313-9380 (Globe); 0919-068-3699/0949-031-0843 (Smart), from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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