Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office General Manager Alexander Balutan has expressed its support in House Bill 5026, which aims to eradicate illegal numbers games in the country.
Introduced by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, House Bill No. 5026 declares PCSO’s “Philippine lotto” and Small Town Lottery the solely recognized legal numbers game and is currently undergoing deliberations at the House Committee on Games and Amusements.
“If the bill turns into law, it will be a big boost against our fight against all illegal numbers games such as jueteng, masiao, last two-digits, and the likes,” according to Balutan.
“Jueteng and other illegal numbers games are sources of funds that politicians use to buy votes and money for their campaign sorties and they are using dummies to operate this kind of illegal number games,” revealed Balutan.
PCSO has a list of names of local chief executives abetting various sorts of illegal number games ranging from jueteng, masiao or the “last two-digits” numbers games.
“Let us support STL and stop illegal numbers games that are affecting PCSO’s legal and charitable games,” Balutan said.
Balutan, however, admits that it is difficult to eradicate the illegal numbers game because it has become widespread in Central Luzon to Southern Luzon provinces, including Bicol; while masiao and the last two-digit games are rampant in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
Meanwhile, Suarez said that, “nationalizing the STL alone will generate around 800,000 jobs nationwide. This will benefit people who may be under-qualified in other jobs due to educational attainment, health conditions, or previous record of drug use.”
Additionally, this will also prevent unemployed people to resort to criminal acts just to feed their families.
At present, there are 82 STL operating agents nationwide with the termination of five Authorized Agents Corporations recently.
From January to September 2018, STL has contributed P19.79 billion to the coffers of the state-operated charity office.
“Institutionalizing the STL will bring in more income for the government while simultaneously providing gainful employment to many Filipinos, especially those who live below poverty line,” said Balutan.
“As I have mentioned before, STL is transparent and regulated by the government. Therefore, patrons of this numbers game are assured of a fair-and-square chance of winning,” he added.
The nationwide implementation of STL will lead to the realization of its full economic potential and benefits.
In June 2018, STL already contributed P2 million to the charity fund. The STL program has already raised P9.7 billion as revenue from January to May 2018, which makes STL a significant and efficient source of revenue for the government, according to Suarez.
While STL is still gaining foothold in most provinces where illegal numbers games are rampant, Suarez said that the PCSO should increase its efforts in the expansion of this program.
Last year, President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 13 which orders law enforcement agencies to intensify the campaign against illegal gambling.
“It is through STL that the people are assured of a transparent and fair game while government earns revenues for its medical and charitable programs. It is a win-win for all, but it is game over for illegal gamblers and operators,” Suarez said.