Bishop hits return of small-town lottery gambling in Negros Oriental

October 13, 2023 - 10:39 AM
Bishop Julito Cortes. (Dumaguete Cathedral)

A Catholic bishop in the central Philippines has criticized the impending resurgence of small-town lottery (STL) operations in Negros Oriental.

Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete is opposing the return of the state-run local lottery due to its “harmful effects” and potential “erosion of the moral fiber of our people.”

“We humbly appeal to our provincial and local officials to rethink approval of STL applications in the province,” Cortes said.

“STL and similar games encourage especially the poor to rely on luck and chance instead of choosing hard work and industry,” he said.

The prelate made the call amid the “mushrooming” of STL outlets in the province.

STL was a government project supposedly designed to combat jueteng, a multimillion-peso underground lottery.

However, congressional probes in the past revealed that gambling lords and corrupt officials only used STL as a cover for the illegal numbers game.

Cortes also expressed concern that STL may be used for “dubious activities by those who want to wield political power.”

“We, therefore, plead to our government leaders to be very cautious and discerning in the approval of STL applications in the province,” he added.

As the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections draw closer, the bishop also urged the faithful to vote for candidates “who are persons of integrity and are not susceptible to corruption.”

He emphasized that society deserves leaders who are determined to serve the common good and are committed to promoting justice and peace.

“Let us therefore strive, with the guidance of the Lord, to choose life over destruction, grace over sin, and virtue over vice,” Cortes said.