ILLEGAL gambling activities, particularly the illegal numbers game of jueteng, remain rampant in several provinces, particularly in Southern Tagalog provinces, data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed on Tuesday.
Figures obtained by The Manila Times from the PNP Directorate for Operations revealed that illegal gambling operations remain unchecked particularly in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.
Data culled showed that illegal logging operations are most rampant in Southern Tagalog, which comprises the provinces of Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Romblon, Palawan, Aurora, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal.
From January to June this year, police conducted a total of 3,447 raids in these provinces that resulted in the arrest of 1,723 people and the seizure of P717, 612 in cash bets.
In the Bicol Region, police conducted 2, 546 raids resulting in the arrest of 830 individuals and confiscation of P155, 959 in cash bets.
Records showed that 1,405 of these anti-jueteng operations were conducted by the police in Mimaropa, which is composed of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
But in terms of seized cash bets, the PNP figures showed that the Western Mindanao Region had the biggest amount confiscated —P6,485,462 in cash bets.
The sum was seized in 237 raids that also resulted in the arrest of 86 people.
PNP Public Information officer Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said there has been no let-up in the police campaign against illegal gambling.
“Our operation against illegal gambling is continuing and had never stopped,” Sindac told The Times.
But retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the government is unable to stop illegal gambling because President Benigno Aquino 3rd has not taken any concrete steps to curb jueteng and criminality.
In an interview, Cruz added that jueteng and criminality have been rampant since Aquino assumed office in 2010.
“Hindi niya pwedeng puksain ang jueteng pagkat yan ang isa sa pinakamatingkad na tagumpay ng Aquino administration—ang pagpapalawak ng sugal dito sa Pilipinas [He cannot eradicate jueteng because that is one of the major victories of the Aquino administration—making it spread in the country],” he said.
He noted that the Aquino administration has even constructed a Skyway in the southern part of Metro Manila so that “gambling clients” can easily reach casinos.
“Magmula sa airport, diretso yun dun sa casino sa Pagcor para ‘wag maabala ang
mga kliyente para di ma-traffic [From the airport, the clients can go straight to the Pagcor casino without fear of getting caught in traffic],” Cruz said.
The retired archbishop also noted that the Aquino administration has failed to curb crime.
“The conclusion is that the police cannot curb crimes because truth is policemen are involved in crimes,” Cruz said.
WITH ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ