‘Jueteng as cooperatives’
Economist Cielito Habito, in his column “Primacy of community” (Opinion, 4/7/15), cites the critical importance of the community as a powerful base on which to build initiatives to uplift people’s lives. He says, “Based on global experience, the World Bank and other development institutions now swear by community-driven development (CDD) as a most effective tool in pursuit of sustainable and inclusive development.”
Habito sees the need for a “new paradigm that sees collective outcomes arising not from individuals pursuing their individual greed, but rather, from communities whose members work collectively for the common good.”
Everyone of course is very familiar with “jueteng” and its variants in the Visayas and Mindanao. The vast majority sees jueteng as purely a form of gambling. Yet it cannot be denied that jueteng operates like a business organization run and controlled by a financier called jueteng lord from which people in the community “buy” pieces of papers with their favorite numbers written on them hoping to gain some extra cash. It is illegal yet it practically operates in every nook and corner of our country. Jueteng has been with us for many decades, and like an institution it endures.
If a development analyst could be likened to a cook or chef, he would see that all the essential ingredients needed to prepare a recipe, an economic recipe, could be found in jueteng—a functioning organization, wide acceptance and patronage by the people in communities and, most important, enormous cash. Billions of cash money is being generated yearly by jueteng nationwide (“‘Jueteng’ as solution,” Opinion, 2/21/14). The cash is even bigger than the billions of dollars of foreign investments poured into the economies of our more prosperous neighbors—e.g., Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc. (“PH creating jobs for other countries,” Opinion, 3/6/14).
With all those ingredients laid out on the table, what more is needed to prepare an economic recipe that would transform all communities in our country into economic zones, where the people themselves are using their money collectively for the common good? Jueteng as cooperatives is one such recipe.
To borrow a few words from Habito’s column, “perhaps the time has come for a new paradigm that sees…” jueteng from a totally different perspective in that it could be used as a tool in pursuit of sustainable and inclusive development.
—ERNIE ADAYA, [email protected]
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