“Your days are numbered.” This was the stern warning from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Tuloy” Evasco hurled against gambling syndicates using the government’s lotto games as front for their illegal numbers game.
Apparently sidelined by the present administration’s unrelenting battle against illegal drugs, the proliferation of the illegal numbers game popularly known as â€˜suertresâ€™, has been linked to the drug business.
To address the increasing numbers game operations in the Visayas and Mindanao, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) introduced the Small Town Lottery (STL).
STL and it’s variants – Peryahan Lucky Tres and Bohol Tres are farmed out to PCSO franchise holders with local draws held thrice daily with results separate from the national suertres draw results.
Irked by the audacity of these gambling syndicates taking shelter under the government’s lotto games as cover for their illegal activities, Evasco minced no words in sending a dire message to put an immediate stop to their illegal activities.
Reports reaching Evasco revealed the extent of the illegal numbers game in the province that has affected the objective of the STL to stamp out illegal numbers game and democratize charity at the local level.
Under the STL charity sharing scheme, 10% of the revenues will go to the city or municipal coffers, 5% to the provincial government, 2.5% to the congressional district while the Philippine National Police (PNP) gets 5% and the remaining will go to the PCSO.
The sharing scheme will give local government units immediate access to funds for health and development projects.
Unfortunately, according to Evasco, proceeds of the gaming operations are diverted into the pockets of the gambling lords instead of going into the local government treasury.
Even the sharing scheme is doled out to local government and police officials on a fixed basis and is not revenue based to cushion the investment and profit margins of gambling syndicates.
But according to Evasco, gambling lords in cahoots with corrupt local and government officials have undermined the integrity of the STL.
However, Police Senior Superintendent Ricky Deliles, Public Information Officer of the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) told the Chronicle that almost 90% of gambling activities in Bohol is now operating under Bohol Tres.
The franchise holder of Bohol Tres is from Luzon and has presented all their approved documents from the PCSO.
According to Deliles, the other numbers game, the Peryahan ng Bayan has stopped operation pending completion of their permit to operate.
The fate of gambling syndicates operating under the guise of PCSO franchise holders are now strictly monitored to minimize the existence of illegal numbers game in the province.Â (Chito M. Visarra)