There was one day in the early 90s when the local officialdom and the Church united to oppose the entry of Small Time Lottery into Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental.
There was a gathering at the BSP building at the Capitol Area to listen to the oppositors about the numbers game. It was a one-sided forum because everyone went there to voice their objection to STL.
Despite their objections, however, the STL still found a way to creep into the society using their national franchise, when Manoling Morato was chairperson of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and yellow ticket booths welcomed long lines of patrons every day.
A sweetener to the PCSO bid to allow the operation of STL here was the distribution of ambulances by PCSO to all towns and cities in Negros Oriental, and the setting up of a PCSO office in Dumaguete, where requests for medical assistance could be easily processed.
STL stopped for a few months after that day of infamy on March 4 — after everyone pointed to gambling as the cause for the politically-related violence in Negros Oriental.
Now, STL is back! And we see the same objection to the operation of STL, practically using the same language that was used before.
There is an added argument this time: the politically-related violence that rocked Negros Oriental.
The opposition has an advantage this time, in that our legislators in Congress themselves are adding their voices against STL. Cong. Josy Limkaichiong and Cong. Chiquiting Sagarbarria can truly make a difference, and put teeth in the opposition to STL as Congress has to approve the budget of government agencies, including the agencies running STL.
Budget hearings are coming again soon, and the PCSO could be in the hot seat if they insist on allowing the franchisee to operate here in Negros Oriental.
What do you think would PCSO now do to win over the opposition, and allow the operation of STL in Negros Oriental? More ambulances? Now this sounds like an interesting PR problem. We have to see how this unfolds.