It was established with the cleanest of conscience and the purest of intention. It had one and only focus, viz., to help the sick, the poor, the orphans. It had one and simple desire, viz., to gather money from charitable people for its works of charity.
And people bought PCSO tickets not to win but to help, not to covet the money of others but to help the needy. Winning was not even considered whereas such seemed so remote from reality. One already jumped for joy when his losing ticket was changed with a new one by previously having the last digit of a winning number. It was this way for decades.
Multitudes of men and women were born, grew old and died with PCSO remaining immaculate, stayed on course, kept the faith. Until one unfortunate day it allowed itself to be adulterated with veritable gambling. Lotto was introduced under the pretext of combating jueteng. Lotto came and jueteng even became from rampant.
And whereas PCSO thought that lotto was not enough, EZ2 (easy 2) has been made its derivative. Now PCSO is geared to run another form of gambling. This is the infamous STL (Small Town Lottery). Now sad to say, PCSO and gambling are like Siamese twin s—one body having two heads.
STL now enjoys the endorsement of a big financier, a known public official and a high police authority. Unless reformatted through some tough bargaining, the STL proceeds are envisioned to be thus divided: 10% for the mayor, 10% for the collector, 10% for PCSO, 3% for the cabo, 2% for the governor and 2% for the PNP Director.
Meantime, all the money gathered from jueteng and masiao, from lotto and loteng, from EZ2 and STL come from one and the same standing source, i.e., the poor in the country who are forever hopeful of winning but who are all practically losers always.
When the government claims that the beneficiaries of all these forms of gambling are the poor, it can simply be told: tell that to the marines! If the poor are helped, this is because lotto and lotteng, EZ2 and STL get their money first and foremost. What is kept a very big secret is how much of gambling moneys go to whom and for what.
One can only wonder if and when PCSO would once again get their funds from charitable people and not from the gamblers of this republic.
26 December 2005