Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the closure of the national lottery and other gaming activities run by the government's charity agency following reports of massive corruption in the agency, his spokesman said Saturday.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) operates the national lottery, small-town lotteries and other gaming schemes in a bid to raise funds for health programmes, medical assistance, services and charities.

‘The president has ordered all licences, concessionaires, and franchises issued by the PCSO recalled, cancelled and withdrawn, effective immediately,’ presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

‘All law enforcers are directed to implement the President's directives with dispatch and without exception,’ he added.

Panelo said Duterte issued the order after receiving reports of a ‘grand conspiracy ... to cheat the government of its rightful shares, depriving therefore the masses of our people of receiving basic services needed by them.’  ‘The president is outraged by the discovery of the plunderous machinations of these scoundrels whose insatiable greed is infinite and beyond redemption,’ he added.

In March, Duterte fired the general manager of PCSO due to alleged corruption following a congressional investigation into the state-run charity, which posted an income of 63.5 billion pesos (1.27 billion dollars) in 2018, up 20 per cent from revenues in 2017.