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STL set to launch in Bicol provinces

LEGAZPI CITY—The state-sponsored Small Town Lottery is set to be launched in the six provinces of Bicol Region, including the supposedly jueteng-free Catanduanes.

Expected to be launched before the end of March are the STL operations in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, to be followed by Albay in a week, according to Albay Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office manager Nelly B. Loyola.

Despite the controversy over the lottery, which critics say is similar to the two-number jueteng game, Loyola clarified the STL franchise in Sorsogon has not been ordered suspended, since the PCSO granted its franchise during the previous administration.

Loyola said it’s definite the revitalized STL will also be launched in the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate. A PCSO branch will also open in Catanduanes to serve the province’s charity-dependent residents needing medical assistance, whose requests and claims are still being handled by the Albay branch.

Religious officials and anti-illegal gambling groups here fear the relaunching of the STL operation under the Duterte administration will open the floodgates for jueteng and illegal bookies.

The government claims the revitalized STL will kill other illegal numbers games, one of the three campaign priorities of President Rodrigo Duterte apart from to drugs and corruption.

Loyola said STL operators are under contract with the PCSO to pay a minimum income to be remitted daily and direct to the agency. In turn, PCSO will remit to local government units their share of the state-sponsored numbers game. 

In the past, STL operators remitted directly to the LGUs their share of the operation, but Loyola said the amounts may go beyond the prescribed ceiling, based on sales duly covered with receipts. 

Topics: Small Town Lottery , Bicol Region
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