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Is it necessary to privatize PAGCOR?

Fellow students, highly esteemed judges, ladies and gentlemen Good day.

This debate centers upon the aforementioned question concerning the Philippine amusement
and gaming corporation. All of you have heard what the speaker of the affirmative side has to
say, which I might add I censure, about the topic and as such it would only be fitting for me to
begin unfolding the ideas which I have striven these many days getting acquainted with.

Privatization is one move a government employs when a particular establishment it owns has
proven inefficient, costly, has an ostentatious operation cost compared to profit; basically
running on a loss. Tell me ladies and gentlemen, is this how you see Pagcor as being - a sinking
ship on an open ocean?

Let’s talk of specifics now.

First, on the profitability of the business of Pagcor. In 2007, pagcor earned 27 billion pesos. In
2008 pagcor’s annual income reached 29.61 billion. In 2009, when businesses all over the world
were struggling due to the global financial crisis that was always compared with the great
depression, pagcor posted an unprecedented income of 30.31 billion pesos. The Philippine
Amusement and Gaming Corporation posted record-breaking unaudited revenue of P15.54
billion from January to June 2010, exceeding its P14.6 billion income for the same period last
year by 6.43 percent. From these financial figures, you can instantly surmise that PAGCOR is
NOT in the red, so why the need to privatize?

Second on Pagcor being a charitable institution. Pagcor’s title does not only revolve around the
fact that it is one of the major revenue sources of the government but it is also its biggest donor.
Since this establishment was mandated to “raise funds for the state’s socio-civic and national
developmental efforts” 5 percent of net winnings goes to the BIR as franchise tax, 50 percent of
the 95 percent balance goes to the National Treasury as the National Government’s mandated
income share, 5 percent of the balance after the franchise tax and the National Government’s
mandated income share goes to the Philippine Sports Commission for financing of the country’s
sports development programs, 1 percent of the net cash income goes to the Board of Claims, an
agency under the Department of Justice, which compensates victims of wrongful detention and
prosecution and Cities hosting PAGCOR casinos are given a fixed amount for their respective
community development projects. The remaining balance is then remitted to the President’s
Social Fund to help fund the priority projects of the government. Friends, another reason that
makes pagcor stand out from the other GOCCs is the fact that it is a charitable institution. Since
it is government owned, PAGCOR has a charter that obligates it to give part of the money it
generates to helping our countrymen who desperately need assistance. Programs to feed
undernourished children, medical missions, effective outreach programs, aid to would-be
athletes and entrepreneurs are just some of the charitable acts that pagcor funds. So why would
you privatize an institution that is not charitable only because it can afford to be so but because
it is its reason for being so? Could the government actually mandate a private corporation to be
profitable so it can be charitable? I say, we can only dream about such a scenario.

Third on claims that pagcor is so corrupt or inefficient that it needs to be privatize. I say, this is
the most absurd argument I have heard and read in my research on this topic. If this argument is
even logical, necessity notwithstanding, then that is tantamount to saying that it is logical or
necessary to just post an AD at EBAY that says: COUNTRY FOR SALE! Then we’d all be
logically happy living under the subjugation of another country (or by Donald Trump or by
anyone who wins the bid for that matter)”. Absurd, right? If you say that pagcor is inefficient or
that it is corrupt that is why it should be sold then to you I say, CORRUPTION is a crime.
The most logical and necessary solution then is not privatization but prosecution.

So again I would like to reiterate – there is NO NEED to privatize PAGCOR because it is such a
profitable business for the government that contributes a great deal to the government’s socio-
civic programs and that inefficiency and corruption are challenges that the government can
address with the almighty political will.