Can expanded STL wipe out illegal gambling?

BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA

Friday, April 7, 2017

ILOILO City – Without necessarily saying he doubted Small Town Lottery’s (STL) muscle to crush  illegal gambling operators, Senior Superintendent Harold Tuzon, provincial police director, said their operations against illegal numbers games will continue.

Tomorrow, the sole authorized agent corporation of STL in the province, Eagle-Crest Gaming and Holding Corp., will start operating.

“Tuloy-tuloy ang ating anti-illegal gambling operations, may huli tayo sa north, sa south,” said Tuzon.

Today, Tuzon will have a conference with Eagle-Crest president and chief operating officer Samuel Romero Aguilar.

For easy identification, legitimate STL bet collectors will have identification cards (IDs) and uniforms, said Tuzon.

The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) was already provided with a list of Eagle-Crest’s STL bet collectors.

“Those collecting STL bets without IDs will be collared. IDs will be checked,” said Tuzon.

He hoped STL would somehow minimize crimes, too.

“Kasi kung may trabaho, hindi na sila magnanakaw at gagawa ng krimen,” he explained in a previous interview.

But Tuzon reminded his men to continue being watchful of illegal gambling operations.

“My instruction to my police chiefs is to arrest those illegal gambling bet collectors,” he said.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said it was expanding the operation of STL nationwide (an additional 50 outlets) to help the government’s anti-illegal gambling drive.

“Answering the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to eliminate illegal gambling and stop corruption in the country, PCSO expands its STL operations from 18 areas since it started in 2006 to 56 areas nationwide this year,” said Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz.

PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan warned those engaged in illegal gambling operations to stop or face arrest.

“To all illegal gambling operators, your minions and protectors, your days are numbered. You can run but you cannot hide. Go legal or else we will arrest you and file appropriate charges against you,” said Balutan.

Corpuz said PCSO also wanted to generate more funds for charity programs aimed at helping poor Filipinos.

The additional STL operations would mean an increase in revenues estimated at P27 billion, said Corpuz.

“The expected STL sales in 2017 shall mean more Charity Fund for PCSO and will subsequently translate into more beneficiaries of the various health, medical and charitable programs, including the Individual Medical Assistance Program, assistance for medicines and medical supplies, medical and dental mission and ambulance donation program, among others,” said Corpuz. (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)