DUMAGUETE CITY -- The Police Regional Office (PRO) in Negros Island Region has issued orders to all its units in the region to intensify anti-illegal gambling operations following the suspension of the anti-illegal drugs campaign under Operation Double Barrel.

Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NORPPO) deputy provincial director for administration Supt. Reynold Andot said the order was effective immediately while the province is also preparing for the entry of the Small Town Lottery or STL.

Andot said the anti-illegal gambling campaign is directed against “swertres” and other illegal numbers game to include illegal cockfighting locally known as “tigbakay.”

He said all gambling activities that do not have permits are considered illegal such as “panchong” and “tong-its” during wakes.

For his part, the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) under the supervision of Superintendent Crisaleo Tolentino confirmed that the one strike policy will be implemented against non-performing police stations under the renewed call to run after the illegal “swertres” and other illegal numbers game.

It is for this reason that in all levels, the chiefs of police are directed to conduct raids on “swertres” joints and submit names and personalities involved in the operation.

He, however, admits difficulty in running after the big financiers who operate discretely through remote controls inside pension houses and hotels instead of making their residences as the center of operation and be subjected to application of search warrants.

As a continuing mandate of the police, Tolentino said that in 2016, there were 116 anti-illegal gambling operations conducted province-wide and additional 12 from January to February this year.

He stressed increased surveillance operations is being conducted to catch the financiers.

Tolentino said the provincial command is requesting the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to conduct lectures on how STL works and operates to allay fears of backyard operation in the guise of a legal operation, like what happened in Luzon. (PNA)