Political will still key to stop illegal gambling – prelate

CEBU City — The government’s campaign against illegal gambling will only succeed if government leaders manifest political will in curbing the numbers’ game, a young prelate said.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas described an effective way to rid the country’s towns and cities of illegal gambling activities beginning with jueteng.

“When there was an investigation, when the police were warned, it evidently stopped,” the country’s youngest archbishop said on Saturday referring to illegal gambling in Pangasinan.

He added if local government officials don’t like illegal gambling, no illegal gambling would take place but when local officials relax the rules, then it slowly returns.

He further stressed that “what is important, as what Archbishop Cruz said, is political will.”

Villegas said when they issued a pastoral statement about illegal gambling last year, they did not expect any reaction from the Office of the President in Malacanang because they initially addressed the statement to provincial, city and municipal officials.

He said he is satisfied with the accommodation they received from local officials, who responded by phone, text and representatives saying both the local government and the Church have the same commitment to human dignity and human labor.

“The mayors, congressmen and the governor sent word that they are willing to intensify the livelihood projects,” he added. He explained micro-financing is a long-range solution.

“There is no substitute for political will,” the archbishop concluded. Melo M. Acuna, CBCP News


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