Monday, February 19, 2007

PAGCOR Forever

The Philippine Gambling Corporation appears to have the proverbial nine lives attributed to big fat cats. It refuses to die and has all the money to buy life at will. It is supposed to be cold dead by 2008. The flagship corporation of the present administration is poised to enjoy some 25 more years of glorious operation all over the land.

In fact, a supposedly distinguished gentleman in the senate has reportedly spearheaded the approval of the extension of the PAGCOR franchise—with undue haste PAGCOR now is salivating not only in looking forward to a generous lease of gambling life for no less than a quarter of a century. It has also generously worked for more corporate gambling possibilities under its dubious nationwide umbrella.

It is not enough that PAGCOR has now no less than a total of 16 casinos and another total of 10 slot machine arcades—all luring gamblers and nurturing gambling addicts, no matter the socio-moral costs it is not even enough that it rakes in some five billion every quarter from its gullible patrons.

Directly under the office of the president and operated by five Malaca┼łang appointed directors, if the bill extending the operational life of PAGCOR is further approved by House of Representatives, the infamous government corporation is henceforth even authorized to enter into joint-ventures with private corporations. The bill also legitimizes the devious e-gambling that in reality respects neither age nor status of gamblers.

The eventual winner is the national leadership. The ultimate losers are the pitiful gamblers, the social imperative of sweat and toil, the elementary mandate of sound value system. This is the perfect picture of an exploiter and exploited. What the administration cannot get by direct and indirect taxes, it grabs by enticing citizens to gamble.

In effect, it is expected that the administration called for a special session of the lower house to push, among others, the final approval of the bill extending not only the life but also the possibilities of PAGCOR operations. The administration has become insatiable in its quest for money for its self-aggrandizement and self-reputation.

There are at least three names of outstanding congressmen who are expressly mentioned as decided to block the approval of the bill. Obviously, they are no match for the numerical tyranny of the pro-administration congressmen. But just the same, the national Crusade Against Gambling salutes A.P. Cayetano, F. Escudero and B. Aquino III!

19 FEBRUARY 2007