Apparently approved by the PAGCOR Board on 17 October 2005 and said to be owned and managed 100% also by PAGCOR, the VIP Slots Club Project appears to be another venture to entice people to gamble as much as possible, as long as possible. What is really more disturbing is that the gambling project is envisioned to rise in Balibago, Angeles City, outside existing hotel premises. According to reports, it is proposed to stand and operate next to a chicken restaurant frequented by families and their friends.
Never mind the lost of precious pesos that can be put to better use. So what if fortunes are swallowed by gambling machines. There is nothing to worry when young and old people become gambling addicts, their families broken, their futures destroyed. Such could very well be the corporate motto of PAGCOR.
If PAGCOR stands for virtue and the common welfare, why it is that public officials are forbidden to frequent its casinos? Why it is that private business corporations do not welcome gamblers among their high level employees? And why it is that even the U.S. Department of State issued the warning that local casinos nationwide are potential conduits in laundering dirty money for nothing less than terrorism and organized crimes?
And most funny and amusing song PAGCOR sings through innumerable tri-media expensive advertisements is the charity works it does, the people it helps, the communities it builds. The PAGCOR mantra however carefully avoids saying the personal loses of gamblers, the social costs of gambling.
PAGCOR does not fail to publish how many billions it gets every quarter. It is so proud of proclaiming how great is its management, how high-tech are its gambling machines. But is rather quiet about who are its frequent monied clients just as it is silent on where the rest of billions goes after deducting its grant of some thousands of pesos here and there.
Whether PAGCOR admits it or not, as gambling does not build human dignity, neither can it make a people better nor a republic strong for that matter in fact, it is not impossible that together with other vices, it weakens the already weak value system of gamblers as well as the social fabric of our nation.
8 March 2006