House minority leader asks Lacson to reconsider plan to stop STL
LUCENA CITY—House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez has asked Sen. Panfilo Lacson to reconsider his proposal to stop the operation of Small Town Lottery (STL), saying it would lead to job losses in provinces where the government-sanctioned game was played.
Suarez, who represents the third district of Quezon province, expressed concern that more than 400,000 people employed as “kubradores” (bet collectors), “kabo” (supervisors) and “rebisadores” (bet checkers) would lose their jobs once the government stopped STL.
He said most STL workers were no longer eligible for the government’s job placement program. “They are past their … working age; most of them are already senior citizens,” he said.
“Once STL operations stop, where will these workers go? We will be pushing them to resort to illegal activities—drug pushing, robbery, or return to underground ‘jueteng’ operation—just to feed their hungry family members,” Suarez said in a phone interview on Friday.
Lacson claimed on Wednesday that the government was losing at least P4 billion a month—or P48 billion a year— to gambling lords who operated STL outlets.
Stamp out jueteng
Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on games and amusement, disclosed the foregone revenue from STL during a hearing on his bill seeking to create a Philippine Charity Office (PCO).
Lacson said STL might be prohibited altogether under his proposed PCO if the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office could not control and contain STL operations, which were supposedly part of government efforts to stamp out jueteng, an illegal numbers racket.
According to Suarez, he supports any move to strengthen the operation of STL to maximize its tax revenue potentials for the benefit of the poor.
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