Bacolod mayor to study endorsement of STL

BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella said he will study the action of the City Council endorsing the operation of the Small Town Lottery (STL) in the city amid opposition from various sectors particularly the Diocese of Bacolod.

The council approved during its special session Tuesday the required resolution of no objection authored by Councilor Alex Paglomutan. Along with Paglumotan, six of the eight councilors present voted in favor of the resolution, including Caesar Distrito, Em Ang, Roberto Rojas, Wilson Gamboa Jr., and Noli Villarosa.

Councilors El Cid Familiaran and Sonya Verdeflor opposed.

Puentevella said those who oppose the STL should expand their crusade against the numbers game because the STL of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has already been operating in other parts of Negros Occidental.

u201cWhy do they express their opposition to the STL operation in Bacolod City only?” he said.

The resolution of no objection was passed after Jexter Mercado, president of Super Lucky Beagler Inc. (SLBI), requested the council to allow them to open STL branches in Bacolod as stated in his Aug. 11 letter addressed to Paglumotan.

SLBI, which has office at Montinola Bldg., Bonifacio St., Silay City, operates in certain areas in Negros Occidental as the sole authorized agent-corporation of the PCSO for STL in the province.

Puentevella said he is at a crossroads as the city also allows the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) games, and at the same time, STL is also legitimate gambling.

"Where will I put myself here? Will this be an example of gambling for the rich and no gambling for the poor? Why don't those who oppose the STL call for its stoppage in the province? Why is it that STL is okay in the province and not in the City of Bacolod? Let us be fair to all," the mayor said.

Rev. Fr. Ernie Larida, director of the Bacolod Diocese Social Action Center, said that for many years, the church had been opposing gambling either legal or illegal.

He added that the Diocese of Bacolod will campaign against the six councilors who voted for the approval of the resolution endorsing the STL operation in Bacolod.

"We will campaign against those councilors. We are planning also to hang a streamer with their names as what the church did to those national politicians who favored the passage of the Reproductive Health Law,” Larida said.

He said the church is opposing STL because it promotes the culture of gambling and leads to a culture of indolence among the people.

u201cWe can’t do anything since the resolution was already approved, but we are touching on the conscience of our leaders not to promote this kind of culture,” the priest added.

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