Cebu City starts crackdown on illegal STL
CEBU CITY –– At least 40 unauthorized booths were dismantled by authorities on Monday as the city starts going after illegal small-town lottery (STL) operators.
Raquel Arce, chief of the city’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (Probe) team, said the STL booths were located mostly on the sidewalks of national highways.
“No one resisted during the operation, but there were some who insisted that they did not obstruct the sidewalks,” she said.
Since it could not demolish outlets built on private properties, the city government would issue show-cause orders to allow owners to explain why their booths should not be dismantled.
“To the operators (of the STLs), we’re simply doing our job. There’s nothing personal here,” said Arce, whose team was assisted by policemen during the operation.
Two weeks ago, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella met with Royina Garma, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager, to discuss the proliferation of unauthorized STLs in the city.
Garma, a retired police colonel who served as director of the Cebu City Police Office and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas, said PCSO was losing P12 million a day to illegal STLs in Cebu and Mandaue cities.
“Those STL booths found on sidewalks or interior areas in Mandaue and Cebu City are illegal because it is only in the province of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu where we issued permits for STL operations,” she said.
Garma said losing revenues affected the social services of PCSO, including the Individual Medical Assistance Program that aims to meet the financial needs of people with health-related problems.
“Proceeds of PCSO go to charity. We can donate more if we can earn more. (But) these illegal STL operators are affecting the proceeds of PCSO games,” she said.
Garma expressed hopes that the police would step up its campaign against illegal STL outlets that are openly operating by the road.