BIZ BUZZ: Former enemies, now partners, bag PCSO deal | Inquirer Business
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BIZ BUZZ: Former enemies, now partners, bag PCSO deal

/ 05:10 AM August 20, 2021

It was an unlikely alliance between two firms that were constantly at each other’s throats not so long ago, but it looks like the partnership between Pacific Online Systems Corp. and the Philippine Gaming Management Corp. (PGMC) is about to become a win-win situation.

Biz Buzz learned that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has decided to award the P6.15-billion National Online Lottery System contract to the joint venture firm created by these two firms earlier this year to bid for the lucrative contract.

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The National Online Lottery System—sometimes called the Philippine Lottery System—is basically the next generation development of the current lotto system, and became controversial after it was revealed that a Chinese-led consortium called Genlot was initially disqualified from the bidding for being ineligible, included again, disqualified again, included again, and finally disqualified again.

During this time, the special bids and awards committee members of the PCSO even tendered their resignation in protest of some moves by unnamed parties to have the firm reinstated in the lineup.

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In any case, after months of moves and countermoves, it appears that the contract is finally going to the two parties that have been operating the country’s lotto system for years now.

Pacific Online—run by businessman and former stockbroker Willy Ocier—has extensive experience in IT, gaming and lotto operations, having served as PCSO’s operator for lotto in the Visayas and Mindanao areas.

PGMC on the other hand, in partnership with Malaysia’s Berjaya Group, runs the lotto operations for PCSO for Luzon.

The two firms have been fighting over turf these past few years, but they apparently decided that it is in their best interest to work together on this latest deal in order to protect the Philippine lotto market from encroachment from outsiders.

Well, if the partnership works, it will also be good for PCSO, which will reap the benefit of greater revenues from a more efficient and unified lotto operation … making the “win-win” partnership into a “win-win-win” arrangement.

—Daxim L. Lucas

More whistleblowers

Remember the advertising agency founder who has been called out for alleged sexual harassment? The self-policing ad industry association 4As Philippines is not taking the emerging #MeToo situation lightly.

As more allegations about this guy’s other female victims have circulated (including those allegedly involving interns)—many of whom, however, want to remain anonymous, 4As brought in Gabriela, an umbrella organization of groups advocating women empowerment, to properly document incidents and if warranted, build a legal case.

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“One of the objectives of the 4As Code of Ethics is to promote the welfare of the association as a whole and of its member-agencies. In line with this aim, there 4As will work with Gabriela as part of delivering its mission to stand for our agency members in providing safe spaces and equality for all practitioners,” 4As said in an Aug. 18 advisory.

Gabriela has agreed to represent 4As member-employees who officially report “behavioral misconduct experienced in the workplace.”

Suffice to say, this agency owner may not be the only one accused of making unwanted sexual advances on peers (and especially juniors) in the creative industry.

4As told members that Gabriela was committed to help counsel and protect these women victims.

But 4As recognized that there’s still much to do to foster social responsibility within the advertising industry.

“As part of delivering this aim, 4As commits to spreading awareness and developing educational programs on diversity, inclusivity, gender equality and the like. In addition, the 4As will work closely with other partner organizations in terms of reviewing and creating policies and guidelines related to the promotion of responsible creative excellence,” the industry association said.

But it’s not an easy task to cry wolf as the agency owner has all the means to fight back. The buzz is that a cyber libel case may be filed against the first whistleblower, to discourage others from following suit.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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TAGS: Biz Buzz, Pacific Online Systems Corp., Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Gaming Management Corp. (PGMC)
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