“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy – the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.” Eric Hoffer
By Alex P. Vidal
GAMBLING–legal or illegal—should not be used as a weapon to fight poverty.
There are many ways to combat poverty.
Number one is population control.
A bloated population means more mouths to be fed.
Less people means less problems on malnutrition; less problems on shortage of food production; less problems on housing; less problems on employment and other social services.
The government won’t be over-burdened.
Inviting investors to build factories; encouraging small-scale businesses; and pushing for income-generating programs and activities that provide employment opportunities.
But not gambling.
Gambling corrupts both the poor and the rich.
It corrupts those in political power absolutely as they stand to benefit once we allow gambling like small town lottery (STL) to be legalized in Iloilo province.
Poverty can’t be solved overnight.
We are supposed to embrace the value of hard work if we want to rise in the economic ladder, and not to depend on numbers game.
STL, when legalized, can provide employment for those who solicit bets, but it will eat up the moral fiber of Ilonggos, who will only rely their luck-or even next meals-in the game of chance.
Since they expect to win an instant lump sum of cash for a small bet by the stroke of luck, Ilonggos will become head-over-heels with STL.
They will only wait for the manna from heaven, thus they will end up lazy and won’t dream big beyond earning via easy money schemes.
Gambling will also teach Ilonggos to become subservient to politicians or those who advocated the removal of any barrier to make it legal.
Gambling or the legalization of STL will also send a wrong signal to the younger generation.
When our own leaders are the ones pushing for gambling, it means it’s not evil per se; it means whether it is moral or immoral depends on the interpretation or choice of our leaders.
The church has been consistent on its stand against any form of gambling, much less any move to provide it with a legal structure.
We expect the church to make a solid stand once the provincial board of Iloilo will pass a resolution to give the governor’s office the green signal in favor of the legalization of STL.
We already have so many legalized gambling operations in the country.
Online-lotto under the auspices of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PSCO) is one of them.
But life of the Filipinos has not improved.
Many still live under the poverty belt.
Crime rate is still blamed on overpopulation, unemployment and lack of economic opportunities for qualified job-seekers.
The number of poor has not been reduced.
Despondent heads of families will no longer dream big and will be hooked on the legalized gambling for instant relief from the rigors of life.
In STL, only the politicians and police will stand ten feet tall, not the members of the hoi polloi.
It will not ensure an instant food on the table for bettors; it will not ensure an instant tuition fee for the students; it will not ensure a better life for Ilonggos as a whole.
Ilonggos will suffer from moral and even spiritual bankruptcy.