Monday, July 15, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


UNCENSORED By Manuel L. Morató

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I wish to be excused from commenting on what triggered the sudden stoppage of the gaming under the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) by the President.

As we all know, the PCSO is under the Office of the President and President Duterte has the prerogative to decide on what he knows is not going right in that agency.  On my part, I really did not meddle after we had left when the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had ended in 2010, barring some issues thrown against us by the new appointees of then President PNoy when he took over the reigns of government.  It was unfortunate that the PGMA appointees were persecuted to cover-up that the “vendetta” was focused only on President Arroyo.  Idinamay kaming lahat na appointees ni Presidente Gloria.

It’s a long, long story to tell, but the fact remains, we were all acquitted, after making us suffer first in order to cover their tracks of the newly appointed ones who wanted to show that they were better than everybody else; so they can be praised by Malacañang for persecuting President Gloria and her appointees.  But God has His way of giving Divine Justice to the oppressed.

Thank you to the media for trying to interview me.  They know that I’ve been twice appointed by President Fidel V. Ramos as PCSO Chairman in January 1994; stepped down when his term ended in 1998.  But President Gloria reappointed me to the PCSO in 2004, as only one of the directors which lasted for another seven years.

Excuse me na lang po from being interviewed for its highly improper for me to speak out without knowing what had been happening these past many years from July 2010 to the present.

However, I went once to the PCSO offices to pay a courtesy call on the first appointees of President Duterte to the PCSO who called on me to seek help if I could help them go back to the former PCSO offices inside the Quezon Institute Complex which I worked so hard for to get the full annex building on the right side facing the complex from E. Rodriguez Avenue.  It’s a majestic structure designed and constructed by the National Artist for Architecture, Juan Nakpil sometime in 1934 during the Commonwealth years headed by the late President Quezon.

The Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc., owner of the Quezon Institute Complex was supported by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) through Republic Act 1169 in 1934.  It rendered free care for tuberculosis inflicted patients.  RA No. 1169, “An act providing for Charity Sweepstakes, Horse Races and Lotteries” was enacted into law on June 18, 1954, as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 42 and Presidential Decree No. 1157” during President Ramon Magsaysay’s term.  

Modesty aside, my father was one of the donors when the complex was constructed; and when it was operational.  President Quezon raised funds from his friends to construct the Quezon Institute Complex.

The complex is registered as National Shrine in the National Historical Commission (now I believe is NCCA; or National Commission for Culture and the Arts) and cannot be destroyed nor sold.  Why?  The 19 hectare land was donated by the ancestors of former First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo, the Tuazon/Arroyo clan with the condition that it must never be sold or the property will revert back to the Tuazon/Arroyo family and its descendants.

When the PCSO appointees in the latter part of 2010 took over, they attempted to sell the 6 hectares and the right wing of the complex, but I reminded them through my column that they cannot sell the wing that the PCSO was occupying with a 50-year lease form the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. (PTSI); without knowing that the particular wing the PCSO occupied had a penthouse which was the suite President Quezon occupied when he was sick with tuberculosis.  That particular wing was registered with the Historical Commission as an historical site.

The wing remains abandoned and ransacked by the previous PCSO appointees in 2010.  They dismantled all the improvements and repairs the PCSO did on that particular wing which was so majestic that all foreign visitors marveled over its architecture with huge granite columns.  Those who did it saw to it that the PCSO could not go back to it ever again.  Kasi nagalit sila na hindi nila naibenta.      

At first, sabi nila magko-collapse na daw in case of a strong earthquake.  They did everything to justify their selling it and moving out.  But time has proven how strong the building inside the Quezon Institute Complex are, like the 10th or 14th and 15th century buildings in Europe.  After all, Architect Juan Nakpil studied architecture in England.

Since 1934, so many earthquakes have occurred.  Other buildings like the Ruby Towers have fallen in 1969, but the Quezon Institute buildings stand strong.

President Duterte had to “nip it from the bud,” as the saying goes. He found out something wrong and he intends to fix it “before it goes down the drain.”  Either way, President Duterte had to fix what can be fixed as the PCSO is under his office.  Like it or not, he is our President and he has the right to find out what is happening.

I advice everyone not to panic.  President Duterte must have the information he needed to do what is right, which we know nothing about.

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