A GROUP of authorized lotto agents in Cagayan de Oro City is "crossing their fingers," hoping the war on illegal gambling will finally wipe out the scourge in the city.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) declared war on illegal gambling on Monday based on the executive order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Senior Superintendent Gerardo Rosales, acting as the new Cocpo city police director after Senior Superintendent Ronnie Francis Cariaga was transferred to Southwestern Tagalog Region, will be at the forefront of the renewed campaign.
Cariaga's transfer will take effect Wednesday, February 15.
Astrid Bana, a former official of the Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro Lotto Agents Association Inc. (Moclaai), said they will forward the list of supposed illegal lotto operators to the police.
"We will coordinate again with the new city director. We hope tinuoray na gyud ni (this will be pushed through) because we will cooperate ug among i-report ang mga illegal swertres operators (and we will report illegal swertres operators)," Bana said.
Last year, the group helped in the arrest of more than 30 suspected illegal gambling operators, comprising the 20 gambling personalities in Misamis Oriental and 10 in Cagayan de Oro.
The current list of illegal gambling operators was compiled with help from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Bana also said they will tip police officials about policemen believed to be receiving money or operating illegal gambling in the city and the province.
The former Moclaai president said the limited manpower and the focus on illegal drugs have been the excuses of the police last year.
Bana said the on-and-off action of the police last year served only as a "band-aid" solution to the bigger problem.
But Bana expressed serious doubts that illegal gambling operations will be totally shut down by the PNP, noting that many times, illegal swertres comes back in full swing once after each so-called crackdown.
Bana said based on the group's monitoring, the illegal swertres operation had gone back last month.
"Ang kulang gyud (What is lacking here) is continuous and sustained drive, mao na among gilaum (that's what we're hoping for). Kay masulbad ang illegal gambling within six months kung tinud-on lang gyud labi na kay gi-enforce ang one strike policy (Illegal gambling can be solved within six months if it's taken seriously now that one strike policy has been enforced). We will just cross our fingers," Bana said.