THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Tuesday called on local officials in the country to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte eradicate illegal gambling and help the agency promote and protect the operation of the Small Town Lottery (STL) in their respective areas.
Alexander Balutan, PCSO general manager, at the same time reminded local government executives that they could face prosecution and be disqualified from holding public office if they were found responsible for continuous illegal gambling operations in their localities.
Balutan said partnership with local government units (LGUs) is very important in the fight against the operation of illegal numbers games like jueteng, masiao and swertres.
“I’m urging you [LGUs] to help the Duterte administration eradicate these corrupt-laden gambling activities and let’s just work together to promote and protect our expanded STL operation,” he added.
Duterte recently issued Executive Order (EO) 13, which seeks to intensify the anti-illegal gambling campaign of the government and aims to give more muscle to Republic Act 9287 or the Illegal Gambling Law.
Under the law, government officials who will be found involved in illegal gambling operations as collector, agent, coordinator, controller, supervisor, maintainer, manager, operator, financier or capitalist could face a jail term of 12 to 20 years and a fine ranging from P3 million to P5 million.
Balutan said police officers are not exempted from EO 13 and those who would fail to apprehend illegal gambling suspects will also be charged.
The PCSO official made the reminder to warn LGUs that allow illegal gambling to flourish in their respective localities of the consequences they could face.
Balutan noted that the government is losing millions in revenue each day that jueteng and other illegal numbers games are allowed to continue.
At present, the expanded STL has 56 Authorized Agent Corporations operating in various areas in the country and are expected to generate up to P27 billion worth of revenues.