ZAMBOANGA CITY — Former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor, now Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman has backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to shut down all PCSO games starting July 27.
“We welcome and support this new policy of the President,” Hataman said, even as he stressed that it would be best if the government terminated all forms of gambling nationwide.
On Friday, the President said all gaming activities licensed under PCSO should immediately stop operating due to reports of massive corruption. Those terminated are the Lotto, Small Town Lottery (STL) and Peryahan ng Bayan, which are under the PCSO.
Hataman argued that even if corruption did not hound PCSO’s revenue-generating gambling operations, the government should review the policy “considering its adverse impact on society”.
Hataman said a significant number of Filipinoshave become dependent on earning from “easy money” schemes, especially licensed gambling activities “instead of working productively in their respective communities”.
He said small-time gambling, such as those introduced nationwide through government franchises, “could lead to major problems later”
He said compulsive gambling was an addictive disorder which could wreck Filipino homes especially in the countryside where Lotto outlets, STL and Peryahan ng Bayan actively operate.
On Saturday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said erring personalities involved in PCSO gaming activities would be exposed in “due time”.
Panelo hinted of a “conspiracy” within the government-sanctioned gambling operations with the objective of depriving the government of its rightful share.
Revenues collected from state-sanctioned gambling activities amount to billions of pesos on a monthly basis. Money from these activities is generally used to fund social projects of the government, including emergency to disaster-stricken areas.