Will its replacement go STL’s way?
There is now a growing clamor for the small town lottery (STL) to be scrapped. This is a move that invites many interpretations, most of them unflattering to local government executives.
Foremost of the anti-STL arguments is that the bulk of STL income does not go into local government (LGU) coffers. Only about 10 to 20 percent is remitted to local treasuries and the rest is divvied up between unscrupulous officials in cahoots with operators.
No doubt all of us can remember the reason for legalizing STL: No income from jueteng gets to the LGUs, and its huge proceeds offered the biggest temptation to LGU officials and police authorities. STL was supposed to eliminate jueteng and provide additional source of income for LGUs, which could be used to fund social programs for the benefit of the poor.
Such was the convincing argument for STL. It was attractive to the public, albeit it upset crooked officials.
But the genius of the criminal and corrupt cannot be stopped. The STL’s legal mantle was used to deceive the public instead, this time by “shaving” remittances to government and by “camouflaging” the continued operation of jueteng.
Now the revelations and noise about STL’s dubious operation have reached Congress, which is now initiating a move to abolish this “legal” form of gambling.
Knowing the dynamics of our government, the question reverberates: Will STL be scrapped only to be replaced with a new kind of dog, infested with the usual fleas, but cared for by new masters?
MARK E. PARAS JR. and RAMON DIÑO, [email protected]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.