Small Town Lottery Baler sparks controversy from the public
What a stage play!
Filipinos are inclined to engage in games of chances, as if it has been part of their culture and as means of spending leisure time.
Last May 30, 2017, Small Town Lottery (STL) Baler was formally launched (supposed to be at picnic bay); however, when the manager of the establishment came to know that the launching of the STL, and there is simultaneously a street rally led by religious groups, the manager did not pursue the plan to accept the STL personnel and its operating personnel, rather they only served foods by order and not in the place as venue of the STL Baler launching program.
Text message received by yours truly stated that the entry of legal gambling should not be left for the legislators alone to decide but must undergo a wider public consultation because the people are the ones to be affected.
It also stated that the STL was used as a front by jueteng operators.
As I remembered in 1990, a house inquiry following the end of STL operations found that franchises for STL had been awarded to the same people behind jueteng.
Despite its failure to eradicate jueteng, STL was revived by the Arroyo administration in 2005.
In February 2006, the PCSO launched STL on test-run mode in several areas in Luzon and the Visayas.
In May 2006, then Director General Arturo Lomibao of the Philippine National Police confirmed the resurgence of jueteng operations and blamed it on STL, which, he said, was being used as a front for jueteng.
In the same year, then Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said, “STL and jueteng have exactly the same victims twice exploited, the poor, the same beneficiaries twice favored, certain local officials and police authorities, and the same gambling lords twice enriched.”
In December 2007, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued an “urgent and ardent appeal” to officials and citizens to stop the government-backed numbers racket. But STL continued to operate.
In November 2012, Eduardo Manugue, Pampanga provincial chapter chair of the People Power Volunteers for Reforms, said his group had information that some “cobradores” (bet collectors), in collusion with “cabos,” who supervise the collectors, were not remitting STL collections and instead pocketing the money.
“But when a pair of numbers wagered in STL wins, these cobradores give the prize money to winners. In this scheme, the illegal operation is within the STL system,” he said.
In September 2012, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago disclosed during a Senate inquiry that money from jueteng amounted to P30 billion annually. Santiago said jueteng operated openly in at least six cities in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces.
President Aquino announced at the time that STL would be stopped as the government-sanctioned game failed to stop jueteng. But retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said that like STL, its replacement, the PCSO’s Loterya ng Bayan (PLB), would be used to cover up jueteng.
Under PCSO Chair Margarita Juico, PLB never took off the ground due to the long process of vetting, and the review of the new game’s implementing rules and regulations.
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) which is the overall umbrella of STL in the province, has hurdled so much negative reactions from the public most particularly from the religious groups, who is believe to be the guardians of morality PER SE, which remains to be seen because there are two kinds of Christians: Christian by professing and Christian by possessing. Needless to explain further as it may open the gate to more reactions.
The PCSO on one hand, is legal entity in the country which major function is to give assistance by hundreds of thousands to patients afflicted with major diseases. The only process that mars the distribution/ extensions of assistance is that politics has deeply enrooted in the program. Even Bishops, etc… have been recipients of luxurious car services from the PCSO fund and were forced to return the units as it became a public issue.
Gambling, actually, is forbidden as manifested in the Bible; however, due to the adamant behavior of great number of Filipinos, the government has no other recourse to do but to legalize popular games such as the sweepstakes, Jai Alai, Santa Ana Horse Racing, etc,.. and now STL to cover the country particularly the provinces and municipalities which do not have easy access to popular gambling.
The religious groups, on the other hand, as said to be the guardians of morality, has the obligation to rally on the streets to express their grievances to the government in allowing such activities.
The neutral public has caught in between the two forces, the pro and against gambling.
Why is the existence of sexually oriented dens in this province not given the same treatment by the said guardians of morality. Amen.
God has given us wisdom and talent and to use them for our benefit. The government has made legal what is morally illegal, and the public has the freewill to follow the dictate of his mind: to be righteous or to be worldly. (Jason de Asis)