Press Release
March 28, 2006

Small-town lottery is not the solution to eradicating jueteng

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, says reviving the operations of small town lotteries is not the solution to curbing illegal numbers game or jueteng.

It was reported that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in coordination with the National Police Commission (Napolcom) has released guidelines regarding STL operations. This signals the continuation of the controversial STL.

According to Villar, "Strictly speaking, legalized gambling is still gambling. Gambling, whether under the auspices of a government agency such as the PCSO or in the hands of shrewd and enterprising individuals, still promotes the culture of gambling."

With the release of the guidelines, under Napolcom Resolution 2006-116, policemen cannot arrest anybody authorized by the PCSO to operate the STL. To recall, STL was also introduced during the administration of former president Corazon Aquino as part of its anti-illegal gambling campaign, but proved as no match to jueteng's popularity and bigger prize money.

"The intention of STL to provide sources of income or jobs to displaced jueteng kubradors and kabos may be good, but I doubt if it would really replace jueteng. To my mind also, it still promotes gambling and reliance on luck among our citizens especially the youth," cites Villar.

According to the PCSO, STL is already operational in Angeles, Pampanga; Lucena; Bataan and Quezon City. Illegal STL operators have been arrested in Quezon City and other areas. Some members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) have expressed opposition to STL in their respective jurisdictions, while a number of them called for the revision of STL's rules and regulations.

Villar's committees spearheaded the Senate inquiry on the controversy over alleged jueteng payoffs received by government officials. Simultaneously, the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports looked into the possibility of legalizing jueteng.

"I have always maintained my opposition against the promotion of the culture of gambling. Instead, we should instill the values of hard work and persistence (sipag at tiyaga) among our people. It is through these that we will earn our rewards in life. Even the poor, we should not give them fish, we should teach them how to fish," adds Villar.

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