Saturday, December 11, 2004

more gambling

The country is reeling from such serious social maladies as more heinous crimes, more insurgency, more drug availability, more poverty. And the curious and strange response of the government to all these?

More gambling!

The operative philosophy of the national leadership could be this: when people do not find work, cannot earn enough, feel hopeless, the answer: make them gamble! When there is less peace and order, less safety in the streets, less security for the future, the response: give them more gambling!

It is said with straight face by the gambling promoters that gambling—as the recently revived Jai-alai with the blessing of PAGCOR—is meant to raise funds for the poor. In other words, gambling in the Philippines has a social conscience.

How edifying! And how hypocritical! The truth: big time gambling is to fleece big time gamblers in order to enrich big time gambling capitalists. When the government itself become a professional gambling lord, something must be flagrantly wrong somewhere.

A government that looks at gambling as the means of helping the poor must be either silly, joking or desperate—or all of these. It then joins those who entertain the futile and vain thought that a good end justifies a bad means.

The standing question remains: Where have the public funds obtained from the continuous and persisting taxing of practically everybody and everything, all gone? How much was spent for the public good and how much has gone to private pockets? How much was used for development and how much was lost to graft and corruption?

Gambling is no solution because it is a problem itself. Gambling is not an option precisely because it causes addiction.

18 June 1999