Bobby Q. Labalan, Media Solutions
Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan asked the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to immediately stop the operation of the Small Town Lottery (STL) in the province for lack of endorsement from the council.
In its session held Tuesday afternoon the council members grilled representatives of the PCSO on the STL operations being run by Oceania Sur Gaming Corporation headed by its president identified as Rodolfo Luna.
Board Member Angel Escandor said the company did not have any endorsement from the provincial board and from the municipal councils as required under the regulations of the PCSO.
They expressed dismay over the failure of the agency to observe its own rules and allowed the operator to launch operation in eleven towns and one city even with incomplete requirements.
The board members also voiced suspicion that the STL bet collections were being diverted somewhere else or there was a bookies operation after the operator reported an overly understated collection of only P300,000 for its two-month operations.
According to Edna Banzuela, provincial head of PCSO-Sorsogon, they could not verify the actual collections of the operator as they were not allowed to do so.
She admitted that the accuracy of the collection report is one of the major issues being addressed by PCSO as similar complaint is also being aired in other provinces where STL has operation.
The PCSO official said she would inform the national office of the SP resolution and seek their guidance on what action to take.
The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, said it would await for official directive whether or not to stop the STL operation in the province.
Bishop Arturo Bastes had earlier denounced government officials for allowing STL to operate in the province saying it would only worsen the poverty of the people.
Bastes said STL is just being used to mask jueteng operations which target the poor sector of the community.
The prelate said STL is legalized jueteng which benefits only those in power while robbing the poor of their hard-earned money.