Mayor Ernesto Reyes of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, said he strongly supports calls for the elimination of the illegal numbers game called “swertres,” provided it will also include the legalized one which is run by the government-owned Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Reyes issued the statement in the wake of a relentless campaign against all forms of illegal gambling and illegal drugs in the province.
He challenged government to look for other means to increase revenues, and not rely on proceeds from legalized forms of gambling.
Reyes said the church was correct in saying that gambling in whatever form is not only teaching bettors to be lazy by promising a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but it is also corrupting the moral fiber of the people.
However, the mayor stressed, majority of the people who are poor also have the right to be happy and enjoy the little things in life, like betting for a few centavos for a certain number combination.
Reyes considers it a discrimination against the poor if they are prevented from betting, especially in the hinterland barangays where no other form of entertainment and enjoyment is available for them, no television, except for listening and waiting for the results from their radio sets, while those who can afford to bet the minimum of P10 per number-combination are allowed in the PCSO outlets.*JG
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