With the PAGCOR’s $20 billion Las Vegas inspired project of gambling complex in the heart of Metro-Manila, the endearing vision and edifying mission of the PAGCOR operators make them nothing less than strong candidates for sainthood—if they mean what they say and say what they mean. Time and again, especially on the occasion of the mega gambling plan, they sing the same noble and ennobling song as a cathedral choir.
With its already actual multi-billion peso rake-in every quarter of the year by emptying the pockets of the poor and rich gamblers alike, the government gambling operators insistently and repeatedly sing the same sacred mantra to justify their dubious profession and deodorize the vice they promote:
They plainly wish to promote community welfare.
They only want to serve the poor and the sick.
They merely intend to give work to the jobless.
They basically work for the sake of tourism.
They simply desire to fund church projects.
It must be true that they throw some pesos here and there to this and that social ventures. But truth to say, it is not really known where most of the gambling earnings go. It could not be denied that they have charitable projects now and then. But all these are eventually meant to sanitize their operations that create addicts that destroy families that make crooks out of certain individuals.
And as the boast that PAGCOR funds church projects, it will do well for its operators to publish their list of churchmen payees—with their full names, amounts given, when exactly and what for. It is of public knowledge that since January 2004, the CBCP as a whole denounced corporate or syndicated gambling, be this legal or illegal, and formally prohibited churches and churchmen, dioceses and parishes, to receive, much more to ask funds from such gambling institutions precisely like PAGCOR.
As to PAGCOR’s Las Vegas dream envisioned to rise on a reclamation area of Manila bay, the same PAGCOR operators said with glee and pride that it would be some kind of an “entertainment city”. This is an attempt to hide the obvious, to put cosmetics to something odious. They keep on using “gaming” when they mean downright gambling. Now they have adopted the word “entertainment” when gambling remains the heart and soul of the project.
The naked truth is PAGCOR in effect means toxic greed and virulent avarice.
26 March 2007