MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has closed down more than 21,000 lotto and Small-Town Lottery (STL) outlets and other betting areas for other numbers games licensed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said most of those closed were STL betting outlets with 13,320, followed by lotto outlets at 5,187.
Outlets for Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB) were also closed, with 472 and 2,194, respectively, shut down as of Sunday.
“The closure is still ongoing. We are still consolidating data on how many outlets have been closed so far,” Banac said.
“Wala pang data from PCSO on the actual numbers we are hoping na all will just voluntarily comply para 100 percent,” he added.
National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) director, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said they have already closed down all lotto and other betting outlets for PCSO-licensed games in Metro Manila.
“The order of the President for the PNP to help the implementation of his declaration that lotto and other PCSO-licensed games as illegal was 100 percent complied in Metro Manila as of 11 p.m. Saturday,” he said.
“We immediately implemented the order before the opening of lotto outlets on Saturday to make sure that there will be no more bettors who would shell out money to place bets because these games were already considered illegal as of Friday when President Duterte announced it,” the Metro Manila top cop added.
He said that a total of 1,653 lotto outlets were closed including those in malls and other business establishments while 349 STL outlets were shut down.
Nineteen Keno outlets and 55 Peryahan ng Bayan were also closed down across the metropolis, according to Eleazar.
PNP chief, Gen. Oscar D Albayalde urged all other similar establishments that have not been visited yet by the police to voluntarily close down their outlets.
“The PNP remains vigilant to prevent occurrence of crimes and ready to respond to any call for help during crisis, calamity or emergency,” he said.
Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año fully supports the directive of the President revoking all gaming franchises and concessions issued by the PCSO due to reports of massive corruption and irregularities.
“The closure ordered by the President will prevent the further hemorrhaging of the financial resources of the PCSO, put a stop to the reports of widespread corruption, and commence the needed reform and rehabilitation of the said agency,” he said in a statement.
The DILG chief said that all local government units are enjoined to comply with the President’s directive and support the PNP in the service of the closure orders, and ensure that all these outlets remain closed until further orders from the Office of the President.
Any local government official who prevents or interferes in the closure of any outlet shall be dealt with accordingly to the fullest extent of the law, he said.
All PNP units nationwide have been instructed to immediately implement the President’s directive and ensure that all outlets granted licenses or concessions of the PCSO in all municipalities and cities of the country are closed pending investigation. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com