“PAGCOR has finally managed to take center-stage as one of the government agencies showing itself as performing well to implement the President’s “Matuwid na Daan” slogan.”
by Ducky Paredes
With the President’s popularity ratings dipping, the “gatekeepers” of the Aquino Administration must work extra hard to show that economic benefits are still trickling down to the masses. One of these is a contemporary of the President, a classmate from his high school years, PAGCOR Chair Cristino Naguiat Jr. who appears to be fully determined to prove that the gaming agency need not be much more than just a milking cow of Malacanang.
Best of all, the new head of the previously notoriously corrupt Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) seems to instinctively know that the immediate need to change the perception of the rotten PAGCOR of the past.
Chair Naguiat is reaching out to the media and employing online news like Facebook and its own website at http://www.pagcor.ph to bring his message of change to the Filipino people.
It helps that Naguiat is tapping a respected media personality, formerly of TV and now Pagcor’s Assistant Vice President of the Corporate Communications Department (CCD), who has done well in drawing support from media colleagues to help drumbeat the reforms and key projects of the now socially and financially relevant PAGCOR.
Comparing the old one to the present PAGCOR is really not possible, the culture, values and purposes are so very different.
Anyone with basic knowledge in mass communication, marketing and public relations will tell you that in government service, it is not enough that one does good; one must also project and communicate these reforms and accomplishments to the public, the stakeholders; and help turn the critics who are determined to ignore whatever are the accomplishments of the Aquino Administration.
With Chair Naguiat’s reformist ways and vision to make Pagcor one of the government’s pillars in revenue generation and key financial supporter of its socio-civic and national development programs coupled with his aggressive approach to bring these all out in media, PAGCOR has finally managed to take center-stage as one of the government agencies showing itself as performing well to implement the President’s “Matuwid na Daan” slogan.
Just think of PAGCOR hitting a record never-before-accomplished P3.56 gross income in February. This is a billion more compared to the same month last year. As a result, Pagcor turned over P1.94 billion to the government to finance its social and nation-building projects that month.
Naguiat attributes the record-breaking February income performance of PAGCOR to the sustained improvement of marketing programs for Casino Filipino’s foreign and local markets, upgrading of slot machines, and rationalization of expenses in gaming operations.
PAGCOR managed to sustain its increase in March, posting a phenomenal P3.67 billion gross income. Chair Naguiat said the amount “was P686 million higher than the P2.98 billion earnings in March 2011. It was also much better than the P3.56 billion target for March by P109 million, and far better by P104 million against our P3.56 billion gross income last February.”
The March record feat, according to Naguiat, is, historically the “highest total income ever posted for a single month since the Philippine government went into the direct management of casino operations 26 years ago.”
According to the PAGCOR Chief, income from PAGCOR’s own gaming operations in March 2012 reached P2.49 billion, which was a huge P526 million increase compared to the same period in 2011.
“Our upbeat operations during the quarter got an added boost from the strong performance of the other gaming establishments we regulate like the private licensed casinos, e-games, commercial bingo and poker clubs. They contributed P1.17 billion to our March 2012 earnings, higher by P160 million compared to the same month last year,” he noted.
For the month of May, Pagcor generated a gross income of P3.71 billion, the 11th time under its new management that PAGCOR posted its highest earnings for a single month.
May income was higher by P680 million or more than 22% compared to its P3.03 billion income for the same period last year. “Our May performance is the third time this year to have posted a new revenue record. We earned P3.56 billion in February and P3.67 billion last March.”
Naguiat attributes the agency’s bullish performance to the buoyant gaming operations of PAGCOR. “We derived 64% or P2.36 billion of our May income from PAGCOR’s gaming operations, particularly from the winnings of our gaming facilities nationwide. Gaming action in our tables and slot machines remains upbeat. In fact, our earnings from PAGCOR’s own gaming operations last May increased by almost P350 million or 17% compared to our P2 billion gaming income in May 2011.”
The state-run gaming firm meantime generated P1.35 billion from other income sources like its regulation of licensed casinos, bingo franchisees, e-games and poker operations, among others.
“The branches’ dynamic performance allows us to give bigger remittances to government for its nation-building programs. Of the P3.71 billion income generated last May, we have allocated P1.61 billion as PAGCOR’s contributions to nation-building. This is higher by P245 million or 18% more than the P1.36 billion remittances we made in May 2011,” Naguiat disclosed.
The amount will be distributed to the following: P118 million to be paid as Franchise Tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue; P1.12 billion to the National Treasury representing 50% government’s share from PAGCOR’s gross income; P200 million to the President’s Social Fund; P56 million to the Philippine Sports Commission in support of the country’s sports program; P40 million to PAGCOR’s casino-host cities for their community development programs; P70 million for socio-civic projects; and P6.64 million to the Board of Claims to help victims of injustice.
PAGCOR’s robust income performance enabled the corporation to increase its remittances to its mandated beneficiaries. “Last March, we were able to allocate a total of P1.85 billion as the agency’s contribution to nation-building. This was P556 million or 43% over the P1.29 billion contributions we made in March 2011,” cites Naguiat.
Among the recipients of PAGCOR’s funding contributions in March were the Bureau of Internal Revenue (P125 million for the 5% franchise tax); the National Treasury (P1.18 billion); the Philippine Sports Commission (P59 million); cities hosting PAGCOR casinos (P41 million); the President’s Social Fund (P200 million); socio-civic projects (P221 million); Board of Claims (P3.5 million); and contributions to the BIR in fringe benefits tax amounting to P13 million.
According to Naguiat, his management’s basic thrust is to make PAGCOR a reliable government ally in moving the country towards progress. “Our mandate is not only to generate more revenues for the government’s various nation-building projects. We are also committed to help in other areas where we can make a difference and undertake programs that will directly benefit our fellow Filipinos,” he added.
Among PAGCOR’s ongoing major CSR projects are the P1 billion “Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan” project that will build 1,000 classrooms nationwide; the “P-Noy Bayanihan project” for which PAGCOR gave an initial funding of P100 million for the production of armchairs for public schools out of DENR’s confiscated logs from illegal loggers; the P31 million “Hundred Islands e-Kawayan project” that will build a fully functional bamboo factory in Alaminos City, Pangasinan where bamboo furniture and armchairs for public schools will be produced; and the P20 million funding for the Philippine Football Federation’s “Kasibulan” project. It’s a nationwide grassroots development project that aims to train young football players who shall be known as “Batang Azkals”.
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One has to wonder: Considering the record incomes that PAGCOR has been hitting month-on-month, why are some radio and TV commentator, including one presumably allied with a sitting cabinet secretary constantly targeting Naguiat on a daily basis? Could it be that they are not getting what they had been used to, during Gloria’s unlamented presidency?
After all, if one truly wants this country to succeed, why go after the ones who are apparently doing their job. When has PAGCOR ever succeeded as well as during Naguiat’s turn at the roulette wheel, even improving our country’s take with each passing month?
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hvp 06.20.12Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org