(PCSO’s Lourdes Soliman gestures as she makes a point during the Balitaan media forum on Friday. At left is social worker Cynthia Maninang. Photo by Ashley Manabat)
CLARK FREEPORT – Long queues and more importantly, fixers, are now things of the past at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) building at the Government Center in Barangay Maimpis in the City of San Fernando.
Ma. Lourdes Soliman, PCSO branch manager, said fixers make money by selling slots to patients queueing for interview with social workers.
During the media forum “Balitaan” organized by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. at the Bale Balita here on Friday, Soliman said because of the volume of people then, social workers conducted interviews until 6:30 p.m.
The daily queues were so long that fixers have become rampant, she recalled.
Fixers sleep over or spend the night at the PCSO building and the following day sell their slots to patients or their relatives seeking medical assistance for interviews with social workers, she said.
“So, we thought of a better way to eliminate fixers and the long queues,” Soliman said.
“We started giving out stubs but only to realize that stubs are also being handled by fixers who sell them to patients or their relatives.”
“So I checked by going there myself at 12 midnight and surprised them. I saw a lot of fixers,” Soliman said.
“Fixers get their patients phone numbers and they start texting them in the morning. Some fixers handle as many as 10 or more patients,” she said.
“They cordoned the area. It became a business for them,” she lamented.
Soliman said she asked the help of Gov. Lilia G. Pineda to finally address the problem.
“So, we ask Nanay (Gov. Pineda) for help by requesting the use of the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center where we can process from 2,000 to 3,000 patients,” Soliman said.
All those seeking medical assistance are advised to go to the convention center once a month where their documents will be gathered by social workers, she said.
The following week, their names will be posted in the bulletin board where their schedules for interview are posted, she added.
“Only one person per patient is allowed unlike before where one person handles 10 patients or documents,” Soliman said.
The person representing the patient should be an immediate family member, she added.
“So that eliminated fixers because now, they don’t need to sleep over at the PCSO building anymore,” Soliman said.
“We are now less than a year in our new office building at the Government Center in Barangay Maimpis and the atmosphere is more conducive to those seeking our help, she said.
Soliman was assigned at the Pampanga branch of the agency in 2013 after after her assignment in Tarlac.