PRO 11 shuts down 4K PCSO gaming outlets in Davao Region

DAVAO CITY — A total of 4,249 gaming outlets under the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) were shut down by authorities in Davao Region, the Police Regional Office-11 (PRO-11) said Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Marcelo Morales, PRO-11 director, said local police units implemented the shutdown on Saturday hours after President Rodrigo Duterte’s order Friday evening.

Duterte ordered the police and the military to close down all forms of PCSO gaming schemes including Small Town Lottery (STL), lotto, Peryahan ng Bayan, and Keno games.

Morales said a total of 155 lotto outlets, 4,091 STL outlets, and three Keno outlets had been closed down, registering a total of 100 percent compliance.

The PRO-11 official lauded the games’ operators for voluntarily closing down, but warned that violators will be arrested.

“If they will continue to operate, surely, they will face the consequences under existing laws. We also encourage the public to report to us any suspected illegal gambling activity in your communities,” he said. (PNA)

LETTERS FROM DAVAO:STL and Lotto are legal fronts

By Jun Ledesma

THE gospel in last Sunday Mass was about the total destruction Sodom and Gomorrah on account of the detestable things they do before the eyes of God. The story of the annihilation of these degenerate towns appeared not only in the Bible but also in the Koran. When Abraham heard of this severe punishment, he pleaded to God to spare the towns if he can find 50 persons who are innocent. He bargained after finding it difficult to see 50 and bargained some more to which God agreed to spare the towns if there are even 10 innocent people. There was none and so God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and saved only the family of Lot. His two sons-in-law who refused to leave the places of sin were among those who were incinerated and even Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back in the burning inferno.

The Gospel provides an uncanny semblance to why and how Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ordered the sudden and immediate closure of PCSO franchise operators of Lotto and STL (Small Town Lottery). I surmise that he may have been forgiving about some malfeasance in the operations of lotto and STL but when later discovered that of the billions of pesos collected by the operators only a morsel was remitted to the government, he finally decided it was time to shut down the operations of lotto and STL. The people in Sodom and Gomorrah, not only indulged in bestial lustfulness they too never help the poor and the needy. The semblance reeks.

By the time lotto and the lottery was legalized and placed under the supervision of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the conservative estimates were that it should have remitted to the government about P50-billion. By the time the Commission on Audit alerted the PCSO, the lotto and STL is accountable for P8.7-billion and yet not a single centavo was remitted to the government coffers.

In short, some people are having Roman holidays with the income from Lotto and STL while the government is helping them promote the games on all media outlets.
Duterte loathes gambling but tempered this because of the national proclivity of Filipinos to gamble. Cockfighting is a nationwide delight, “jueteng” a favorite pastime in Luzon, “masiao” a poor man’s sweepstakes in the Visayas while “Last Two” is an opiate in Mindanao. Billions are collected by the operators from these illegal gambling games ergo the government decided to supplant these with small town lottery on top of Lotto.

In a rare chance meeting I interviewed Gen. Alexander Balutan (ret.) who was then appointed Chairman of PCSO and asked him how he would convince the illegal game operators and gamblers to migrate to STL. His explanation was brief but I found it to be easily doable.

General Baltan said that all police officers including the barangay councilman knew who are behind the operations of the illegal games. They are also aware as to how much bets are being collected by every operator every month. The Philippine National Police plays the most crucial role in stamping out illegal gambling, he said. Enforcement is the key to the success of STL.

Balutan’s strategy was to impose a collection/sales quota to every STL operator equal to the estimated amount of bets before they were awarded the franchise. Short of the quota would mean suspension or cancellation of the franchise. Balutan moreover expressed apprehension that the STL operators might just use their franchise as a legal front and continue with their illegal gambling operations would still continue. He stressed that PCSO would rely heavily on PNP in stamping out illegal gambling. Obviously, it did not.

The good general knows exactly what to do but that lavish Christmas party did him. Sandra Cam turned out to be a pain in his neck until it was time for him to go. To my mind then his exit was the triumph of illegal operators. “Last Two” games in Davao region proliferate with strange impunity. Not a few radio stations openly promote the illegal game and anyone can place their bets for “Last Two” on STL and lotto outlets or with ambulant collectors of bets.

President Duterte’s order to close STL and Lotto was expected. Lotto operations should have been spared but since most lotto operators are mostly STL franchise holders too and are operating in the same outlets where bets for illegal games are also accepted then both had to be closed. Rightfully so while the members of the Board of PCSO condone the venality and while PNP is in deep slumber.

Mayor Rabat eyes food, parks and agri-tourism for Mati

Mati City Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat is eyeing to develop not just the beaches and resorts in the city but also parks, food, agriculture, and culture and arts. This was the revelation made by Mayor Michelle in Monday’s inaugural meeting of the revitalized Mati Tourism Council under her administration.

In her message to the new members of the Tourism Council, Mayor Michelle said that though Mati City is known for its picturesque Dahican Beach, other sectors of the tourism industry must also be developed.

Mayor Michelle cited forest parks development, the culture and arts, food tourism, and farm tourism as among the tourism sectors that needs improvement and support from the city government.

This early, tourism officials identified the Mayo Cacao farm, Goat Farm, Menzi plantation, and coconut plantations as possible farm tourism destination of the city.

In the open forum among tourism industry players, several concerns were raised ranging from standardizing resorts and hotels to peace and order to tricycle drivers’ aesthetics.

The hotel and resort owners’ association appealed for the creation of a tourism website for Mati City that will host all of the different tourism-related social media pages and websites in the city for a centralized flow of all information for the tourists in both local, national and international arena.

The City Information Office meanwhile informed the tourism industry stakeholders that they will soon be coming up with such a website and that they are now coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology for the reactivation of the official website http://www.mati.gov.ph. The official government domain for Mati City was deactivated by the past administration who instead used a private website http://www.maticity.ph which has now expired.

The resort and hotel association also asked for the standardization of all resorts and hotels and the creation of an accrediting body that would oversee the hotel and resort industry in the city. It was learned that Mati City has only 520 rooms at the moment that could cater to only around 2,000 guests at a given time.

Iñakie Sievert of the recreation and outdoor sector said that before the Tourism Council revitalization under Mayor Michelle’s administration, the tourism players are on their own when it comes to tourism promotion.

With the revitalization of the Tourism Council, he said, they are hopeful that all of their concerns would soon be addressed by the City Government thru the Council.

Aside from the reopening of the Mati airport for commercial flights, among the tourism developments in Mati is the 9-hole golf course and the driving range located near the airport that would be completed by next year.

In attendance during the inaugural meeting were Mayor Michelle, Vice Mayor Glenda Rabat-Gayta, Tourism Council chair Stefan Mikhail Rabat, Councilor Eric Rabat, Tourism Officer Dahiel Indelible Jr., Shiela Edullantes, Councilor Samuel Rodriguez of the Liga ng mga Barangay, Felicito Masagnay, Charlemagne Bagasol of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Ben Jason Tesiorna of the City Information Office, Rowena Catbagan, Resurreccion Maypa-Boyles, Noel Alegonza, Angie David, Maria Chieng, Daruel Porlares, Iñaki Sievert, among others.

The Council vows to conduct more meeting anytime soon to address the various concerns of the tourism stakeholders and map out plan on how to improve the tourism industry in the City of Mati. (CIO MATI)

Panelo: Grand conspiracy among major players caused closure order on all PCSO games

On the closure order of the President on all outlets of Lotto, STL and other gaming activities

We confirm that the President ordered the immediate closure of all outlets of Lotto, STL and other gaming schemes, such as Peryahan ng Bayan, all over the country due to massive corruption.

It appears that there is a grand conspiracy among the major players and enforcers of these government- sanctioned gaming activities and enterprises to cheat the government of its rightful shares, depriving therefore the masses of our people of receiving basic services needed by them.

The President has ordered all licences, concessionaires, and franchises issued by the PCSO recalled, cancelled and withdrawn, effective immediately. All law enforcers are directed to implement the President’s directives with dispatch and without exception.

The President is outraged by the discovery of the plunderous machinations of these scoundrels whose insatiable greed is infinite and beyond redemption.

The Chief Executive will identify the culprits in due time and the full force of the law will come crushing down on them. This hydra-headed corruption will be cut off until it reproduces no more.

Let this be a stern warning to all malefactors in the government, as well as all the enemies of the state, the Duterte presidency will be unrelenting in its war against corruption and unforgiving to the transgressors of the law. The President shall continue to brandish the flaming sword of his office and strike it at the heart of this social and political monstrous dragon.

Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
& Presidential Spokesperson

Duterte orders halt on all games of PCSO due to corruption

READ FULL STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE:

Sa mga kababayan ko, magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

I have today ordered the closure, the stoppage of all gaming schemes sa… whatever nature, however done, that got the franchises to do from the PCSO. The ground is massive corruption involving all, pati the courts who repeatedly issued injunctions to paralyze government and to allow corruption to thrive.

Pending investigation, lahat ho ng laro ng lotto, STL, peryahan ng bayan, or whatever nature, there’s one that yung gambling machine, Keno, I said all gaming activities. Yung gambling, that got the franchise from government through PCSO, are, as of today, suspended or terminated because of massive corruption.

Wala ako magawa. I have to do it. I will not honor transactions that are clearly on the side of, you know, scheming people, Republic of the Philippines, of the money due it. Puro dayaan lahat. At yung mga kontrata ay parang crafted in favor of corruption and to favor other corporations and people. I will not allow it.

As of today, I will not honor any, any order from any court stopping us or enjoin us to stop our desire to go into a massive investigation for the massive corruption that is existing in the PCSO.

Hinto lahat. That’s my order.

Irrespective of the, yung mga sinabi ko na na court order enjoining everybody to stop or not to do or what not to do, especially government. Hindi ako papayag ng ganoon. And I said I will not honor anything there. Everybody has to stop. And I am ordering General Albayalde and the military to stop all these government-granted games which involves corruption. Lahat. Massive corruption.

I repeat, I am ordering the military and the police to stop all gaming–Lotto, STL, Peryahan ng Bayan, pati those machines that can be found anymore which is actually gambling.

If I were to give my sentiment about gambling, mas gusto ko mawala ito lahat. Kung meron naman, I will, maybe, confer with leaders of Congress muna.

I am… the order is grounded on the preservation of the resources of the nation.

Additionally, the information is given to everybody that since as of this moment, beginning now, the franchises and licenses of whatever kind or nature granted by the PCSO as in to all gambling schemes—Lotto, Peryahan ng Bayan, STL, and those machines there that can be found anywhere. I will give them 24 hours to remove them from the public places. Tomorrow, beginning tomorrow at sunrise, everything, all transactions and gaming, wager of bets, becomes illegal.

And as I said, I am ordering the PNP, PNP Chief Albayalde, to arrest anybody, and goes also for the military, si Madrigal, to arrest people engaged in gambling activities in connection with the franchises, licenses, concessions granted by the PCSO.

So it becomes illegal because as of today, all of those permits and concessions or whatever are terminated.

Talagang hiningi ninyo. Sinabi ko na nga walang corruption. Hinihingi talaga ninyo, ibigay ko sa inyo. You’ve offered something to tie the people, allowing gambling and maybe it can help in the economic activity because money goes around. But if you fuck government, that’s something else. Talagang kayo ang nanghingi. Ibibigay ko sa inyo.

Thank you for listening.