Spreading love this Christmas season

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AL S. VITANGCOL III

AL S. VITANGCOL III

First off, I would like to thank all of our readers for patronizing All Insight since it first came out in this newspaper in July 2016.

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It gives me a strong sense of fulfillment knowing that my writings have come to fruition. I got first-hand information that the camp of SBMA Chairman Martin B. Diño relied on my column (Executive Leadership Team of 2016 Goes to … , October 29, 2016) in questioning the OIC-Administrator appointment of Randy B. Escolango.

Recall that I wrote then that, “it is the Administrator, whom the President should appoint. In accordance with the provisions of the law, the appointed Administrator is the ex officio Chairman of the Board. The appointed Administrator is likewise the CEO.”

I concluded my column then with this advise — “A better recourse for this Administration, to correct the perceived errors, and prevent management wrangling in SBMA in the very near future, is to 1.) revoke the appointment of Escolango, 2.) void the original appointment of Diño, and 3.) issue a new appointment to Diño as the SBMA Administrator.”

On December 22, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of all online gaming outlets. In his speech during the signing of the 2017 national budget he said, “I am ordering the closure of all online gaming. Lahat. Lahat. Walang silbi ito. (All of them. It has no use.)”

The President added, “’Yung online sa Pilipinas, pero yung betting outside, wala tayong mechanism (The online is in the Philippines, but the betting is outside, we don’t have any mechanism).”

I do not know if the President had read my column. However, I likewise received information that one of his advisers had read my piece. It has to be noted that I am among the first to write about the illegality of online gambling last week. (Probing the relationship between online gambling and corruption of public officials, December 17, 2016.)

After analyzing Pagcor’s Charter I wrote, “Well, my insight tells me that Pagcor has no mandate in law to grant licenses to offshore gaming operators, much more in regulating the latter. Corollary, if Pagcor does not have such mandate, then operators, which are running online gambling, are deemed unlicensed and illegal.”

I surmised further that, “It is in this light that corruption thrives. Online gambling operators, knowing that they have been illegally operating, have to bribe government officials to let them continue their businesses. This government should just legalize all of these, earn much needed revenues in the process, and likewise curb corruption.”

Meanwhile, I received a lot of inquiries relative to last Saturday’s column. It seems that the “out of mandate” functions undertaken by Pagcor have brought about the proliferation of illegal online gambling. Some quarters asked me if the off-track betting (OTB) stations, which can of course be classified as online gambling, are likewise illegal. I promised them that I would do some research and write about it this coming 2017.

Meanwhile, I will stray away from my usual dose of national and social issues for this week’s column since it is almost Christmas. As a song goes, “it is the most wonderful time of the year.”

I read an editorial written by a ten-year old boy for their school publication. It is about spreading love this Christmas season. I am reprinting here the said editorial, verbatim. Here it is –
“FROM THE DESK OF: the editor in chief;

“My Christmas Wish List;
“I am extremely excited! Who couldn’t be? Christmas is coming in just a few days! As early as the first day of the -ber months, I have been seeing some houses shining from afar with their Christmas lights turned on at night, some have even put up their Christmas trees and most of all, some children have begun writing down their Christmas wish lists.

“I have been reflecting though, that for the past nine years, Christmas seemed to be ‘all about me,’ ‘all about what gifts I want’ and ‘all about what latest gadget there is for me to have.’ My Christmas wish lists were all centered on material gifts and stuff which brought enjoyment but lasting only for few weeks. Later on, these material gifts are left forgotten in one corner of the room.

“Realizing all these, my heart pounds more excitedly for Christmas this year! If it can only speak, it would shout out to my brain: ‘Finally, the heart can get to make a sensible Christmas wish list!’

“For Christmas 2016, let me share with you what I got on my list. For some, they may consider it boring, but I tell you, this is to my heart’s delight! First, I wish for the well-being of my peers. We started as strangers in school, we became friends and I would desire for us to treat each other as true brothers come graduation day from school and of to the real world. Second, I wish all my loved ones, here and abroad, good health. Health is wealth.

You can have all the best things in the world, but what sense to have them if you have a suffering body that can’t even bear to get up from a hospital bed. Third, I wish for love to reign and peace among all religions. We may differ in our beliefs but we all have one God to worship. It is then strange why religion causes division among us.

Lastly, I wish for more charity works. I have started at a young age doing them and I would want to continue doing more. As long as there are children to feed, to clothe, and to show compassion to, I would want to grow old sharing food, giving away my used but still good clothes and to show love that can bring wonderful smiles on their faces.

“All these, I should say, are the real essentials of Christmas. They bring about not just momentary happiness, but lasting joy. And they all boil down to one thing-LOVE. And that, I believe, is the true meaning of our celebration of Christ’s birth.

“So this Christmas, no more gadgets, no more new toys, new clothes and new material stuff for me. After all, as my favorite Beatles’ song reminds me: ‘All you need is love… love… love… Love is all you need.’”

I have read this boy’s writings. To my mind, he writes better than me.

Good luck to this young editor-in-chief who wants to be a future President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Anyway, I wish you all a merry Christmas. May you spread love this Christmas and glorify God in all your undertakings this holiday season.

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