The general manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Monday appealed to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald de la Rosa to seriously go after all forms of illegal gambling operations in the country over reports that illegal gambling lords continue to operate despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 13.
According to Alexander Balutan, the illegal numbers game jueteng, in particular, continues to thrive in some areas where there are already Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) operating Small Town Lottery (STL).
PCSO officials particularly mentioned the operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation (MGVC) that is allegedly being used as front for jueteng.
PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz, at the same time, called on local chief executives to stop the operation of Meridien, a firm believed to be owned by Filipino-Chinese Atong Ang.
“We are calling on all mayors of cities and municipalities to withdraw or revoke the permits they issued for or in behalf of Meridien, considering that PCSO-Small Town Lottery (STL) is the only legal numbers game in the country,” Corpuz said.
Ang is claiming to be a consultant to the firm that is operating within the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) in Santa Ana, Cagayan, in Northern Luzon.
With full support from Malacañang, the PCSO launched an expanded STL last February 1 with 56 AACs that could generate up to P27 billion in revenues for the government’s charity services to buy free medicines for all and for strengthening of health programs.
Balutan said the estimated amount could tremendously increase once PCSO approves 37 more STL bidders this year.
He added that the nationwide STL operation could also provide almost a million jobs for poor Filipinos who could not pass standards in job fairs.
In a letter dated January 24, 2017 to all provincial chiefs of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Balutan identified the approved AACs to operate STL in their area.
He said the STL is an alternative to illegal numbers games operations that provides additional opportunities for employment.
“We are appealing for your full support for the success of the expansion of the STL operations and we trust that we can continue our good partnership,” Balutan added.
The PCSO and the PNP in 2016 signed a memorandum of agreement wherein the PNP will help combat illegal numbers games and prevent illegal gambling operations.
De la Rosa has activated the “one-strike policy” against police commanders who fail to stamp out illegal numbers games especially jueteng in their area.