Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. lamented how Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was being accused of shortchanging the government of the revenues supposedly earned from Small Town Lottery STL).
“Naiinis ako kapag may nagsasalita ng hindi tama. Kanina nakikinig ako sa balita, ang dami nagsasabi na hindi nakabayad sa PMRR (Presumptive Monthly Retail Receipt). True! Pero sa totoo lang, alam ba ninyo na hindi naman buong PMRR ang dapat ibinabayad sa ating gobyerno? How can you give all your sales to the government?” said Teves.
During the House Committee on Games and Amusement hearing on January 31, Teves explained STL operators only pay 39 percent of their PMRR to the government; 35 percent to the kubradors (sales force) and not the whole 100 percent based on the STL-Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
“Kahit yung 39 percent mahirap i-achieve yun. Paano pa kung may patama anu pang ibabayad mo?” said Teves. “Sa jueteng areas, kayang kaya nila ang STL dahil konti ang diperensya ng illegal sa legal. Paano aabutin ng player yun? Kaya dapat i-review [ang IRR].”
Teves who is familiar with illegal gambling operations revealed that he tried introducing other games in some areas, but it didn’t prosper.
“And if you ask old-time jueteng operators, if one introduces jueteng to masiao areas, it will never be bought and vice versa,” he said.
STL as jueteng fronts
Teves disagreed that STL agents were being used as jueteng fronts by illegal gamblers.
He explained that unless they are earning more than their expected sales, using jueteng as fronts will only destroy their reputation.
“Another false claim!” said Teves. “Maling-mali yun. How can you make it a legal front when you cannot even meet your PMRR?”
Instead, Teves urged the House to look into those people who are criticizing the STL operations, who are maybe being “affected” with the loss of their income from illegal numbers game.
“I’m not hitting on anybody. Kilala niyo ako dito sa Kongreso. Nagsasabi lang ako kung ano ang katotohan. Unang-una sa alam kong nagrereklamo, dahil nawalan sila ng kita – mapa-pulitiko man o mapa-pulis nawala yung payola nila sa illegal,” said Teves.
Teves encouraged the House to show sincerity in eradicating illegal numbers game and challenged the critics to submit actual documents as basis on how much really the sales is.
“Makunsensya na ang dapat makunsensya wala akong pinapatamaan. Let’s be sincere on this. Mahirap kasi yung nagsasabi tayo na gagawa tayo ng ganito, but we have ‘ulterior’ motives. Nagbabaan ‘yung dati nating kita o nawala ‘yung payola natin,” ended Teves.
Police as ‘key’ factor
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez emphasized the huge role of the Philippine National Police in stopping the proliferation of illegal numbers game.
“It is high time we should come up with a clear statement and commitment from the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government). Even with the clear intention, PCSO cannot stop proliferation if there’s no police assistance. Wala ho talaga,” said Suarez.
“With the situation right now on gaming (we’re talking about STL) on an ideal scenario, without police assistance, hindi ito magiging maayos. You [police] play a major role in solving house resolution to a success in connection with the proliferation of illegal gambling,” said Suarez.
Suarez said the present gaming situation in the country is only Luzon playing the STL; while Visayas and Mindanao play other games like suertes and masiao.
“It is high time we should resolve this issue. This is the correct period. Because if it’s only Luzon that there is STL and the gaming in other places is not STL, how can you come up with the presumptive sales?” said Suarez.
The need for a ‘rational’ PMRR
Under the STL-IRR, operators are required to submit to the PCSO a PMRR, which is the “amount determined by the PCSO as the presumed minimum monthly sales of Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC), and shall be subject to monthly review.”
The minimum PMRR per province is 30 percent of the voting population of an area with a minimum bet of P2.50 times three draws per day times 30 days that is the minimum PMRR per province.
“The presumptive sales must be reviewed by this committee. And right now I am filing a motion that the Committee on Games and Amusement to come up with a rational PMRR, because it’s your duty Mr. Chairman,” said Suarez, addressing Paranaque City, 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting.
“Unfortunately, STL is a science. Hindi ito overnight success,” said Suarez. “It takes years to perfect the game. Hindi ito pwede na kapag inawardan ka sa isang area, pupunta ka doon mangungulekta ka. Do you think you will earn billions of pesos? No! You will lose billions of pesos if you don’t know the art and science of gaming.”
However, if there’s one province that is worthy of emulation, Suarez claims it is Quezon under the leadership of his son, Gov. David Suarez, as there are no illegal games in the province and everyone gets their rightful share.
“Bakit ideal ang Quezon? Walang illegal gaming sa Quezon. Everybody gets their rightful share. Lahat ng munisipyo, lahat po, dumarating kung magkano ang nakukulekta. That should be the basic Bible Mr. Chairman,” said Suarez.
He also emphasized one of the benefits of playing STL – it can employ 1.5 million workers who will “never pass job fair, senior citizens, invalids, undergraduates and uneducated”.
“Wala silang gagawin kundi mangulekta lang three times a day,” he said.
Suarez believes PCSO will earn hundreds of billions if the whole country only plays STL. But the challenges lies in stopping other games and educating the public that STL is more transparent.
“Walang daya ang STL, which is true! That’s why the Congress approved this [STL] in time of PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) – a game that can stop and thwart illegal gaming and gives opportunity to bettor a chance to win,” said Suarez.
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