PCSO backs House bill eradicating illegal numbers games in PH

Published November 9, 2018, 5:13 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jel Santos

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) recently expressed support for House Bill 5026 which seeks to eradicate illegal numbers games in the country.

Alexander Balutan
PSCO GM Alexander Balutan
(Joseph Vidal / MANILA BULLETIN)

The bill, introduced by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, states that PCSO’s “Philippine lotto” and Small Town Lottery (STL) are the only ones recognized as legal numbers games.

Currently, the House committee on games and amusements is deliberating House Bill 5026.

Nationalizing the STL, Suarez said, will generate around 800,000 jobs nationwide.

“This will benefit people who may be underqualified in other jobs due to educational attainment, health conditions, or previous record of drug use,” the representative noted.

Alexander Balutan, PCSO general manager, said institutionalizing STL will also generate more income for the government.

As such, he disclosed that illegal games like “Jueteng” are being used by some politicians to purchase votes. “Politicians are using dummies to operate this kind of illegal numbers games.”

“If the bill turns into law, it will be a big boost against our fight against all illegal numbers games such as jueteng, masiao, last two-digits, and the likes,” Balutan reiterated.

According to Balutan, the agency has a list of local chief executives “abetting various sorts of illegal number games ranging from jueteng, masiao or the ‘last two-digit’ numbers games.”

It is a tough task to eradicate illegal numbers games because of its rampancy in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon provinces, including Bicol, while “masiao and the last two-digit games” are widespread in the Visayas and Mindanao, Balutan admitted.

At present there are operating agents nationwide. From January to September 2018, PCSO said STL has contributed P19.79 billion to the coffers of the state-operated charity office.