Economic empowerment had trickled to the grassroots on the wheels of cooperation among peoples with common goals. These individuals which comprise what are popularly known as cooperatives become potent economic forces, ably building capital out of their shared vision and sheer cooperation. Success is attained by such groups depending on the commitment of each individual member to extend sustained support as cooperators. The rise or fall of such groups revolves around the cooperators bond that keeps them united in their efforts to achieve their common goal. This reality underscores the significant role of cooperators in the success of any undertaking.
We were apprised by the recent developments in the hearing being conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the illegal numbers game that is “jueteng”. The mind-boggling take being raked from this syndicated gambling was bared once more by anti-gambling crusader in Retired Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz. The multi-million peso gambling operations had allegedly filled the pockets of high ranking administration officials in retired PNP Chief Verzosa and the current DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno and many others. The continued operation of the illegal numbers game is rooted on the protection of high ranking officials. Without such protection, the illegal numbers game would not survive.
With the huge revenue from such illegal gambling had pushed some lawmakers into proposing its legalization. The proposal is premised on the suggestion that government must be collecting such huge revenues that are presently being bagged by the operators. But there are sectors that are strongly opposing such proposals on moral grounds, arguing that gambling must not be promoted as an economic activity. In reality though, such illegal activity had been the source of income of those involved in the operations. But the advocacy against illegal gambling had gained momentum and is getting support from many sectors that its eradication is now the shared goal than its legalization.
In the fight against illegal gambling, senators conducting the investigation asked the Bishop Oscar Cruz what keeps jueteng alive. Candidly, the good bishop gave the senators the twin pillars that make jueteng thrive in the localities. According to Bishop Cruz, jueteng can only successfully operate when the local chief executive and the local chief of police are cooperators. Without the cooperation of the said officials, no illegal gambling will flourish. Such comment is held true not only in Luzon but in the various local units of our region where illegal numbers game of a different name is existing.
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