Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gambling Industry

Casinos here and there, casinos everywhere. Casino crowning glory coming very soon in Metro Manila. Casinos for the filthy rich and infamous, for hoodlums and gangsters. Casinos for drug lords and money launderers, for addicts and the indolent. Casinos fomenting graft and corrupt practices, promoting greed and avarice. Casinos for the wealthy, the “High Class.”

PCSO – formerly a genuinely charitable institution – now a veritable gambling corporation. PCSO gambling ways with different forms, with different names. PCSO gambling outlets without deference to the sensibility of communities, without respect to the particulars of places. PCSO gambling ID plus gambling paraphernalia openly used for illegal gambling practices. PCSO loud and repeated tri-media advertisements to even promote more gambling. PCSO for the “Middle Class.”

Jueteng – and some 42 other forms of illegal gambling – all over the land. Jueteng with its well-structured hierarchy and defined territory which were behind the infamous Atimonan Massacre, one way or another. Jueteng that has its smooth operators and Touch-Me-Not lords. Jueteng that not cripples and kills but also makes non-submissive individuals disappear with no tomb, no tombstone. Jueteng that  enriches the powerful and influential, while impoverishing more the already poor. Jueteng for the “Low Class.”

Thus it is that gambling is now definitely and categorically a Philippine industry – even without anybody officially admitting it. In fact, those running the gambling industry in the country are shamelessly promoting the gross hypocrisy that it is for the common good, for public welfare and even for socio-economic development. Casinos widely publish that they provide gambling employments, build schoolrooms for children, provide relief for the needy etc. etc. – without however saying how much their managers provide themselves. PCSO likewise repeatedly shouts that it helps the needy and the sick – without either saying what provisions do their managers get for themselves. Jueteng also whispers day and night that it gives donations here and there – without of course saying what its lords and operators keep for themselves, not to mention their protectors and allies.

But neither the Casinos, the PCSO nor Jueteng says anything at all about the errant and erratic social costs of gambling: The addiction they cause. The criminals they generate. The dishonesties they cultivate. The decent professions they ruin. The families they destroy. The cheats and thieves they multiply. The rich they impoverish. The poor they make more miserable.

Daang matuwid,” anyone?