Philippine Police Turn Attention Toward Illegal Gambling
After Philippine president Duterte’s announcement that his notorious drug-linked kill squads would be sidelined last week, sights have shifted to the Philippines’ illegal gaming culture.
The new target is not one that will provide news outlets with as many eye-catching headlines and hopefully not nearly as many body counts, but it is one for which Duterte says he now has zero tolerance.
Initially, President Duterte had instructed operatives under his command to infiltrate gambling den’s across the country, before turning around in August 2016 and conceding to those involved in the practice, stating, ”Pay your taxes, gamble until you die. I don’t really care.”
Today, he’s made another one-eighty and changed position, again. Now involving the Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Philippines National Police (PNP), the two organizations are working in tandem to erect plans that will, ideally, rid the Philippines of illegal gaming once and for all. Currently the two bodies are charged with identifying and evaluating the largest problem areas in the country.
National Police Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a report, “After our workshop, PCSO will tell which areas have illegal gambling or have problems.”
The Charity Sweepstakes Office offered comment stating, “Any gambling company that isn’t registered with its agency and authorized to offer games of chance will be targeted. There are currently 18 licensed gaming entities in the Philippines.”
Duterte’s Worrisome Words
As one of the most infamous world leaders in the modern age, Duterte’s words are not taken lightly by colleagues or criminals. His position on drug use and sales throughout his country have prompted what many refer to as a wave of unmitigated killings, where hit squads of police and civilians have been given free rein in killing individuals proven, suspected and even just accused of being involved in illicit drug activity. He’s been compared to the worst in terms of human rights violators. Thousands have already been killed since his proclamation over six months ago.
Lotteries and Sweepstakes Take Center Stage
The Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office will be taking charge of research into the illegal gambling activities of Philippines citizens and foreigners, with federal direction and enforcement coming from the PNP. While charity may be in the organization’s name, its prime focus is on lotteries and sweepstakes. The charitable aspects of the PCSO’s operation is derived from the fact that tax revenue coming from its soft-gambling activities are used in an effort to deliver medical services throughout the country. It hopes to provide adequate medical care throughout the Philippines by 2020.
In a statement released this week, PCSO General Manager Balutan proclaimed, “To all illegal gambling operators, your minions and protectors, your days are numbered. I’m warning you. You can run but you cannot hide. Go legal or else we will arrest you, and file appropriate charges against you.”
While still ominous, the language can give some reassurance that perpetrators will not be shot on sight and offer the appearance of due process following their arrests.
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