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Manila Reps. Dionisio, Tieng seek ban on gambling via online, text

Ban on gambling via online
Congressmen Ernix Dionisio (1st district) and Irwin Tieng (5th district), second and third from right, respectively, guested at the monthly 'MACHRA Balitaan' forum in Harbor View Restaurant hosted by the Manila City Hall Reporters' Association. With them in photo are (left) Itchie Cabayan and Andi Garcia, president and vice president of MACHRA, respectively. (JERRY S. TAN)

TWO Manila Congressmen are fighting tooth and nail for the eradication of gambling via online and text messages, citing how it had been hooking the hapless poor and youngsters owing to easy accessibility.

Speaking at the ‘MACHRA Balitaan’ of the Manila City Hall Reporters’ Association (MACHRA) held in Harbor View, Congressmen Ernix Dionisio (1st district) and Irwin Tieng (5th district) said they are both seeking a ban on all forms of illegal gambling and vowed to work on the formal and perpetual ban on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations or POGOs through legislation.

Dionisio, for his part, stressed that gambling should be confined to casinos for adults who have money to spare, instead of being made available online where the poor and the young, specially students, are exposed to the tendency of getting hooked and resorting to the extremes, like borrowing from loan sharks or even committing crimes to sustain their vice.

“Gambling should be limited only to those who go to the casinos. Dapat ang sugal hindi accessible lalo na sa mga bata na ipinupusta pati mga baon nila,” Dionisio said, citing the recent case of a policeman who, despite being a member of the law enforcement, himself got hooked on gambling.

For his part, Tieng said he had written a major telecommunications company, asking for an explanation why it had been sending text messages to subscribers enticing them to enter into gambling.

Tieng also said he is seeking an answer if said text messages are being sent to all subscribers regardless of whether or not they are minors, noting that one only has to click a link to be able to enter into the world of online gambling.

The two Congressmen also said that POGO’s ban must be formalized and institutionalized by passing a law on its imposition.

According to Dionisio, the harm and negative impact that POGO brings to the society far outweighs the benefits, saying there are many other ways to generate funds.

“Dumarami ang corrupt, kokonti ang yumayaman, selective ang nagbe-benefit tapos magtatapon ng konting barya sa komunidad,” he noted.

Similarly, Tieng said that the unruly behavior of those behind POGO operations and the crimes being committed as an end result is not worth allowing it in the country.

He cited the staggering crimes being committed in the country by those involved in POGO operations as exposed by law authorities who run after them.

Meanwhile, Dionisio also expressed support to the stance of Senate President Chiz Escudero that Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) should do its job of serving merely as a regulatory body and avoid being part of the gambling operations itself.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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