Monday, January 15, 2007

first world gambling

First world gambling in a third world country—this is the loud claim of PAGCOR. This is the big pride of the present government owning and operating the gambling institution.

A recent self-praise release had even the gall to say that the government gambling corporation has earned respectability, demonstrated transparency and posted a record P25 billion take for the year. This is supposedly the banner rake-in of the government corporation.

This is the height of social insensibility.

More people are poor, hungry and sick. More men and women leave the country to make a living. More children are made to work. More families live in shacks if not in the streets or under certain bridges. Yet, they have a government that takes shameless pride in having a world class gambling corporation.

The government continues to lose credibility. It has long since earned the distrust and scorn of many. That is why there are more and more protest rallies, expressions of anger and resentment in the streets. Add to this, its less and less approval by the citizens. But lo and behold, the government has the guts to say that its gambling arm is adorned with respectability.

The same government has recently earned the shameful distinction of being second to none in corruption. It continues to gather record high corrupt practices in the present as well as in the recent past. Still, this government dares to claim transparency in its gambling industry.

Something must be fundamentally wrong somewhere in all this contradictory self-serving praise of government gambling and the pitiful sad national reality. And whereas decent and honest popular perception cannot but be right, it can be only the government and gambling that are wrong realities.

Time and again ad nauseam, the national leadership champions corporate gambling as its development arm, as its sourcing for charitable projects. But it infallibly refuses to acknowledge its big bad social costs. It deliberately plays deaf, dumb and blind to the truth that syndicated gambling is accompanied by guns and goons—not to mention its invitation to corruption, the creation of addicts and the destruction of families.

If PAGCOR provides such a respectable government corporation, why is it that public officials are barred from frequenting it?

15 January 2007