Monday, May 16, 2005

LEGALIZE JUETENG?



I really see nothing wrong in Senator Nene Pimentel’s (PMP, Misamis Oriental) suggestion that we just legalize jueteng so we can tax the popular numbers game instead of having to pour millions of taxpayers’ money into an anti-jueteng drive which, judging by the years spent in a losing battle with the illegal game, is futile din naman. Already, it has claimed the career of one President of the Republic. How many more will fall to its prey?

I lived in Pampanga for over ten (10) years and my yaya has never failed to make a taya with her favorite jueteng taga-lista. And that’s like what, a ten-peso bet everyday! It’s a way for her to make an extra buck; at the same time, it’s also the lifeblood of many people who depend on the game for their food. Unfortunately, that exactly is the downside to it. The concept of easy money based on luck (“swerte”) is just the bane of poverty alleviation efforts. It’s not teaching the people how to fish. It’s akin to waiting for government dole outs whenever disaster strikes.

But how can the government assert a moral upperhand in cracking down on illegal gambling when gambling, courtesy of PAGCOR, is an official activity? (Trivia: PAGCOR is our third largest source of revenue after the Customs and the Internal Revenue).

What a conundrum indeed. One can’t help but wonder if the Philippines was cursed at birth.

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