MANILA, Philippines—If you can’t stop them, legalize them.
This seems to be the message of Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. when he proposed the legalization of jueteng and other numbers game that are often a source of corruption for public officials.
House Bill 3289 filed on Tuesday sought the legalization of the operation of jueteng, lottery, masiao, swertres, first two or last two, “or any variant of the numbers game” and authorizing the city or municipal government
to operate them.
The proposal came amid revelations during a Senate investigation that several top officials of government and the Philippine National Police are among the recipients of jueteng money in a number of provinces.
“It is more imminent to stop the resulting corruption of public officers from the proceeds of collection from the underground and illegal operation of the said numbers game,” Barzaga said.
He continued, “Hence, the practical approach to erase the evil brought about by these illegal numbers games is to institute its operation into the local level under the direct control and supervision of the local government unit with full transparency of the draws,” he added in the bill’s explanatory note.
Barzaga said that even with the advent of casinos, lotteries and other forms of legal gambling, the illegal numbers game thrive among the masses.
The legalization of these games could be a source of the much-needed revenues for the government.
“Instead of being used as payolas, protection money and earnings of the gambling lords, the local government unit could instead get funds from the operation of the numbers game,” he said.
When legalized, these games can also provide gainful livelihood for many local residents, Barzaga added.
Under the proposed City and Municipal Lottery Act of 2010, the city or municipality will implement only one numbers game after holding a public consultation.
Only the city or municipal government will serve as the official operator of the numbers game and will act as employer of those who will be involved in its operations.
The city or municipality is allowed to hold up to three draws a day.
The proceeds of the legalized numbers game will be distributed to the following: 55 percent of the gross proceeds as prize fund for the numbers game; 5 percent to the barangay, half of which will be used as additional allowance for officials; 5 percent to the local PNP assigned in the area; 2 percent to the provincial government; 2 percent to the provincial PNP; 5 percent to the national government; and the remaining 26 percent to the city or municipality.
Lira Dalangin Fernandez, Phil. Daily Inquirer