WE EXPECT more mouths going hungry on the shutdown of all gaming outlets operated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) that includes Small Town Lottery (STL) and lotto. The halt to these gaming outlets were made upon orders of President Rodrigo Duterte. Without going further, the President based his order on alleged “massive corruption” in the PCSO and he did not elaborate on its particulars. The Philippine National Police (PNP) meanwhile is carrying out the order by padlocking establishments that are accredited by the PCSO all over the country. With the way the public sees, it’s a mere suspension of the operations of the PCSO games, which means, it is merely temporary. It was never investigated yet. The closure is not even due to a court order, but on the mere orders of the President. Many were shocked by the stoppage of the operations of PCSO games. Accredited game operators, bet collectors and bettors were surprised from the sudden shutting down of game operations. For the hopefuls to win big time in the lotto, their chances went totally gone. For the operators, they are now waiting for a chance for their games of chance they have invested their money in as their business. The rental of stall owners where PCSO game operators are leasing are likewise hanging on the line until the resumption of the games. Bet collectors who lived their lives on the percentage from bets they collect are now hoping for the resumption of the games where they get their families’ daily budget. Those who rely on PCSO charities for their health and cure for their illness might also be affected by the halting of the PCSO games because of the said agency’s loss of revenue pending the termination. Thousands if not millions are relying on the PCSO’s charitable activities. The President should also order the fast-tracking of the investigation and those involved in the alleged massive corruption should be made answerable for their acts. While it remains pending, mouths are getting hungry. *** The very early morning earthquake at Batanes town proved to be deadly as it claimed several lives and injured many. Houses mostly made of stone and wood were badly damaged with some burying instantly their occupants while they are still sleeping. The series of earthquakes that started around 4:16 a.m. early Saturday, July 27, 2019 is damaging that even the Sta. Maria de Mayan Church, a 19th century edifice and its bell tower were hit severely by the tremors. Concrete roads had cracks and many residents were displaced and preferred to stay in the farms or open spaces for fear of more aftershocks. Batanes is located at the northernmost tip of the Philippines. It’s an internationally renowned destination for local and foreign tourists. The recent earthquake in Batanes affirmed two things - it can happen anywhere in the world at any time even when and where we least expect them to happen. We cannot avoid them from happening but we can be ready and prepared when it strikes. Calling for more earthquake drills! *** For any comments, ideas, suggestions or opinions, text or call The Advocate at 0921-3636360 or send email at firstname.lastname@example.org.