Time and again, the reality and import of gambling get special attention as well as arouse particular preoccupation – in the Philippines. The reason is neither hard to decipher nor demands profound intelligence to decipher.
During the Martial Law regime, there was one moderate sized ship provided “legal” gambling in the country. It was in Manila de Bay far from shore. Only a chose few could go thereto through the use of a little motorized boat. So it was until the end of the said regime. For reasons of its own, the then perceived righteous succeeding leadership made “legal” gambling land in Metro Manila. And on and on, it crawled all over the country. To date, there is even the infamous “Gambling City” being slowly but surely built with huge capital coming from dubious personalities. To hide its real nature, it is alleged that there would also be entertainment thereat.
There was also once that well known and much admired charity institution. It sold the so-called “Sweepstakes” tickets through poor young and old people, a good number of whom were in fact disabled. The tickets were bought not really for their buyers to win – but to help in the funding of the charity ventures of the institution. But lo and behold, it slowly but surely became a veritable gambling agency. To date, the same government entity in effect adopted and now manages different gambling forms with different names – but “legal” gambling they all are.
This is not to mention the proliferation of some 34 illegal gambling forms in the Philippines – the champion of which is the notorious jueteng. This is the crowning glory of illegal gambling in the country. It corrupts public officials and police authorities. Sad but true, it even funds Philippine elections by sizable contributions especially to these and those candidates for local elections. And ones these “win,” they become deaf and dumb in counter moves against jueteng. The same illegal gambling has grown to very well organized and full blown industry to the extent that there are now nothing less than the so called “Gambling Lords” – big time “touch me not” gambling operators with their respective, reserved, and restricted areas of operation especially in the whole of the region of Luzon.
What is truly strange about such a well known phenomenon – that stands for anything but honesty, integrity, decency – is the way the present administration acts and reacts thereto. It not only foments “legal” gambling but also plays blind and mute to illegal gambling. it is fixated with the corruption of the previous government while fomenting the corrupting impact and influence of gambling. Strange but true!