A TOTAL of 77 outlets of Small Town Lottery (STL), lotto, Peryahan ng Bayan, and Keno that were operating under the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in Bacolod City were shut down by the operatives of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) in various barangays in the city Saturday, July 27.
Police Colonel Henry Biñas, director of BCPO, said Sunday that BCPO intelligence operatives and all station commanders led the shutdown of gaming outlets.
“We shut down all the gaming/gambling schemes with permits granted by the PCSO as per directive and declaration by President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
BCPO received the order from Western Visayas Police Regional Office (PRO-6) on Saturday, a day after Duterte issued the order in a video message because of alleged massive corruption at the PCSO.
Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, regional director of PRO-6, ordered all provincial and city directors to stop all gambling/gaming operations of PCSO effective immediately and submit a report of compliance not later than 12 noon of July 27.
Biñas said that any person who will be caught engaging in any gambling scheme will be arrested and charged with violation of Presidential Decree 1602 as amended by Republic Act 9287 covering illegal numbers games.
“With the declaration of the President, all those who engage in these activities will be arrested. PCSO has a good intention to help the poor, but there were someone taking advantage and failed to remit the proceeds to the government, it’s a high time not to support the illegal gambling,” he added.
Biñas noted that most of the operators were also cooperative and they voluntarily closed their outlets.
For his part, former Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez believes that the shutdown of all games under the PCSO is only temporary and would resume soon.
"What I know was that President Rodrigo Duterte after his meeting with PCSO General Manager Royina Garma he immediately gave an announcement of the stoppage of PCSO games because of corruption," Benitez said.
Benitez believes that the stoppage won't take long.
"It's just a matter of making sure that everything is in order. He kept mentioning corruption. He is allergic with corruption. I think it's just temporary. The people need the medical assistance from PCSO. Maybe the president just wanted to cleanse the PCSO just like what he did with Boracay," Benitez pointed out.
The President has even said in his Sona, "Game pa more!," Benitez quoted Duterte when he praised the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation.