Monday, November 21, 2005

philippine charity sweepstakes

For many decades, the PCSO was an institution completely synonymous with charity. It meant charity on the part of those who bought its tickets. Their intention was charity. Their generosity was for charity.

People then did not buy sweepstakes tickets to win. They did not expect to win. They wanted to help the poor, the sick, the orphans. Most of them started buying tickets when they were young. They became old. They died. They never won. Their loss was charity’s gain. That was the way it was meant to be. And so it was.

But slowly and surely the PCSO was made to evolve into something with less nobility but with more avarice. It progressively made its patrons less charitable but more greedy. PCSO is now sadly adulterated with downright gambling.

Gambling could be anything but charity on the part of the gamblers. Helping others is farthest from the mind of the gamblers. Winning, yes. Helping themselves, yes. Coveting the money of others, yes. But doing charity, no!

First, PCSO introduced Lotto. This form of gambling was introduced allegedly to eradicate jueteng. The outcome is well known. Lotto and Jueteng came to have a peaceful co-existence. Lotto even sired another form of gambling: lotteng.

Now, PCSO is promoting small town lottery (STL). Again, it is said that this would replace jueteng. But just like lotto, STL is precisely the cover-up of jueteng. And once more, STL is poised to likewise procreate another form of gambling: pick-2.

It is worth asking how the national leadership feels about all these. The often proclaimed strong republic is fast becoming a gambling republic instead. There is PAGCOR dedicated to gambling. There is PCSO promoting gambling. And there are the gambling lords operating many forms of gambling. Gambling does not a strong republic make. Gambling is a vice as well as a vicious activity. Gambling promotes anything and everything—except industry, integrity and honesty. And its victims are always the same: the gullible poor and the indolent rich.

21 November 2005