Baguio churches slam ‘Loterya ng Bayan’
BAGUIO CITY—Representatives of the city’s churches and religious groups have declared their official opposition to the ‘Loterya ng Bayan’, saying all forms of gambling “steal from the pockets of the poor and put [the revenue] into the hands of the privileged.”
Councilor Edison Bilog, sponsor of a resolution barring the ‘Loterya’ from Baguio City, said the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was bent on starting the said lottery in August, regardless of the host community’s position on its operation.
The ‘Loterya’ replaces the Small Town Lottery (STL), which was supposedly used by financiers as a cover to operate the illegal numbers game ‘jueteng.’
But a councilor here objected when the proposed resolution stopping ‘Loterya’ was granted due course over other pending measures lined up for Monday’s session.
Councilor Richard Cariño, chair of the council’s committee on laws, said he was surprised by the speed of its passage. He chided the councilors for proposing a resolution that denounces ‘Loterya’ without condemning ‘jueteng.’
The anti-‘Loterya’ measure, he said, is attacking a state project that was designed to displace and eliminate ‘jueteng.’
Cariño got the other councilors’ consent to direct the ethics committee to investigate the haste that led the body to approve the anti-‘Loterya’ resolution.
He also questioned a group of church leaders who attended the Monday session, asking them to explain how they knew about the resolution.
“I did not even know this was going to be included in the session until [the session began],” Cariño said.
Fr. Andres Cosalan Jr., vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Baguio, said they attended the session on their own, after being informed by Bilog about the anti-‘Loterya’ resolution.
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