Duterte says illegal drug trade may worsen if jueteng is stopped
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the illegal drug trade may take over if the illegal numbers game “jueteng” is stopped.
“Jueteng is unlawful. It is not legal. It cannot be allowed,” Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview in Panglao, Bohol.
He said he must be able to give alternative livelihood to those involved in jueteng or they may choose to join the illegal drugs trade.
“If I stop it, I must be prepared to give another livelihood scheme to the people,” he said.
“Because if you can’t find an alternative, drugs will replace the operations. That would be more deadly,” he added.
The President said he would rather have jueteng than drugs.
“Now, between drugs and jueteng, the past administrations were not able to stop it anyway. I’m not saying I won’t take any action, I will. But I am aware of the danger of what will develop after you stop jueteng,” he said.
Despite his desire to keep jueteng for now, Duterte said he is thinking of ways to end the illegal numbers game.
“So I should be prepared to give a substitute. I am thinking on where to get the money and how to divide the little money that we have to give everybody a chance to earn a living for the day,” he said.
He said he one of these days he would summon the jueteng lords to Malacañang.
“I’ll call them in a roundtable like this one. Then I’ll ask them to choose if they will stop or be my enemy. Because if they will become my enemy, then it’s up to them,” he said.
In a June 22 speech, Duterte said he wanted to keep jueteng for now to keep the economic activity in the province. /ee
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