THE Duterte administration’s campaign against crime and corruption is not limited to narcotics use and trade, but also includes other crimes, including illegal gambling, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Tuesday.
“It’s part of the priorities of the President because his top priorities [are] drugs, crime, and corruption. It’s included,” Abella said in response to the appeal of retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz that President Rodrigo Duterte also pay attention to illegal gambling.
Abella noted that Duterte had previously expressed his disapproval of gambling and directed that the revenue of state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the country’s principal gambling regulator, be used for public health care needs.
Duterte also ordered Pagcor chairperson Andrea Domingo to cancel “soon” the licenses granted to online casinos because of its detrimental effect on people.
“In Davao City, they’re at it but I stopped it in time. It’s not good that people know nothing but gambling… And there is no way to collect taxes,” Duterte had said earlier.
Cruz, for his part, said he was grateful at Duterte’s disapproval of gambling but insisted that gambling is morally wrong and giving gambling revenues to worthy charitable causes does not make it morally right.
“Gambling is gambling and don’t tell me that these gamblers are saints and holy,” Cruz said in a recent radio interview. “It’s so hard to accept that gambling will be used to help the poor. The end does not justify the means.”
After the Philippines got involved in the cyber-heist of some $81 million from the Bangladeshi central bank, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral statement on how gambling corrodes moral values.
“Gambling’s malice consists in the desire of the gambler to profit, if possible immensely and quickly, without making any corresponding contribution to society in terms of industry, investment and the creation of job-opportunities,” the CBCP said.
“Gambling also runs counter to the providence by which every person ought to provide diligently and prudently for himself and for his family, for it leaves to the flipping of dice, the spinning of wheels or the fortuity of cards what can and must be earned through diligence, creativity, application and toil,” the pastoral statement read.