"It is a win-win for all, but it is game over for illegal gamblers and operators."
As of June 2018, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office reported an increase in the number of authorized agent corporations operating Small-Town Lottery nationwide. There are 89 AACs, while more AAC-STL applications are pending approval. According to news reports, this expansion has led to the employment of 311,436 people which equates to a 40-percent increase compared to 2017. These people are employed as cobradores and cabos and are now earning more than P7,000 to P8,000 a month. This translates to having at least P250 a day to spend for food for the family.
STL serves as a valuable livelihood program to many, especially to those in the provinces. I have proposed, through House Bill No. 5026, the recognition of the Philippine Lotto and STL as the sole legal numbers game in the country. At the same time, I continue to urge the PCSO to allow the expansion of the STL nationwide so that provinces may benefit from the program through additional employment and eradication of illegal numbers game.
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. As I have mentioned before, STL is transparent and regulated by government. Therefore, patrons of this numbers game are assured of a fair-and-square chance of winning. The nationwide implementation of STL will lead to the realization of the full potential of the STL in terms of its economic benefits. The PCSO also reported in June 2018 that STL brings in almost P2 million monthly to its funds. The STL program has already raised P9.7 billion as revenue from January to May 2018. Apparently, this makes STL a significant and efficient source of revenue for the government.
While STL is still gaining foothold in most provinces where illegal numbers games are rampant, 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.
I urge my fellow legislators to look into the potential of STL and support my call for its institutionalization. Numbers games are admittedly deeply ingrained in our society. What we can do therefore is to provide legal and regulated machinery that will protect the interest of the playing public. 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.