A PHILIPPINE Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) lotto operator said only one village chief in Cagayan de Oro City responded to the letter sent by the Office of the Ombudsman asking local officials to stamp out illegal lotto operations in their villages.
Astrid Bana, former president of the Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro City Lotto Agents Association Inc. (Moclai), said only Macasandig village heeded the call against illegal gambling and illegal lotto activities.
Bana said a number of village chairmen called up the Office of the Ombudsman to seek advice on what to do.
“Giingnan sila sa Ombudsman nga tubagon lang ang sulat. Ang Macasandig lang ang formal nga nagpadala og response, (They were informed by the Ombudsman to respond to the letter. Macasandig (village) was the only one who formally responded,” Bana said.
Bana said the letter was sent December last year to remind village executives of their functions to help eliminate any form of illegal gambling activities in the locality.
In Misamis Oriental, Bana said only the mayors of Balingasag and Tagoloan had earlier expressed positive action to the same letter of the Ombudsman.
“Pero murag walay effect ang reminder sa Ombudsman kay padayon pa man gihapon ang operation, (It seems that the Ombudsman's reminder has no effect since the operation is still ongoing),” Bana said.
The group had earlier lambasted the inaction and insincerity of the task force formed by the capitol and the City Governments, and sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in arresting the "big fishes" behind illegal gambling.
Bana said they had spoken with the NBI officials on Tuesday,January 10.
Bana said further they will turn over information to the NBI in order to build cases against suspected illegal lotto operations.
“We are hoping that if the police cannot act, the NBI can help us. We are exploring various courses of action kay dili nami magsalig anang task force,” Bana said.
A lotto agents' congress will be held in the city on February 3, where all concerns and issues besetting the legal lotto operations will be addressed.
Bana said the activity will be a venue where they can solicit solutions from the PCSO general manager, retired Major General Alexander Balutan.
Bana said they will raise the issues on competition with the illegal "Swertres" operation, policy reform proposals like accepting P1 bet similar to the illegal "Swertres," trashing out the "sold out" issues, among others.
“Invited man ang new general manager sa PCSO so unta makapangayo kita og tubag kung unsay mahimo sa national leadership regarding sa atong mga concerns,” Bana said.