Lawmaker wants DSWD to use unclaimed lotto prizes

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City 2nd District Representative Winston Castelo has refiled a measure that seeks to allow the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to use unclaimed lotto prizes. 

Lotto pot money not claimed by winners usually go to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) charity fund providing medical assistance to qualified patients. 

But under House Bill (HB) Number 5257 or the DSWD Enhanced Social Welfare Program Act of 2016, Castelo wants the money to be immediately given to the DSWD to widen the scope of its programs.

“With such funds transferred from PCSO directly to DSWD, the effective and efficient disposition of significant financial resources to benefit rightful beneficiaries and families will further boost the mandate of DSWD,” Castelo said.

Castelo first filed a version of this bill in December 2014, after a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Games and Amusement revealed P3.35 billion worth of unclaimed lotto prizes from 2006 to 2013. 

Then-PCSO vice chair Jose Ferdinand Rojas II said during the hearing that the money goes to the PCSO’s charity fund, which supports its Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP).

The IMAP subsidizes the hospital bills of indigent patients. 

But Castelo still believes that the unclaimed lotto jackpot money should be “effectively and efficiently” transferred to the DSWD. 

“The rationale of this proposal is based on the fact that DSWD runs a highly reliable targeting system on most of its welfare programs that is able to target the legitimate and rightful beneficiaries of such goods and services,” Castelo said. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.