PNP says clampdown on jueteng is ‘last priority’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday that crackdown against illegal numbers game jueteng will be its “last priority.”
The PNP made this pronouncement after President Rodrigo Duterte said his administration will remain focused on the so-called drug war instead of the “lesser evil” jueteng.
According to PNP Spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac, they will concentrate their resources more on the campaign against illegal drugs and other forms of anti-criminality operations that “really affect the safety and security of the public.”
“[Operations on ‘jueteng’ will be the] last priority, but drive against illegal gambling remains,” he said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
In a separate statement, Banac said the police have observed in the past that as they intensified their operations against “jueteng,” its activities on the street-level had evolved into illegal drug activities, as workers of the illegal numbers game had no alternative livelihood.
He said a larger profit is also a factor why “jueteng” workers shift to drug trafficking.
“We submit to the wisdom of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in his expression of preference to jueteng than to drug trafficking as a means of livelihood by some people among the poorest sectors of society,” he said.
Duterte earlier said the government should be prepared to provide an alternative work to families who will be affected if jueteng is stopped, otherwise, “drugs will replace the operations.”
“Nonetheless, the PNP cannot afford to be remiss in our duty to enforce the law against both illegal gambling and illegal drugs,” Banac said.
He said the PNP will continue to enforce the law against illegal numbers games, particularly jueteng, masiao, and “Last 2,” as provided under Presidential Decree 1602 as amended by Republic Act 9287 (anti-illegal gambling law).
He also said the PNP will continue to support the regulated numbers game operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office through the Small Town Lottery as a legalized alternative to jueteng. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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