Dumaguete City officials took in a lot of input from opposing camps at yesterday’s public hearing on whether or not to allow 15 applicants for lotto operations in the city.
Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, administrator of the Diocese of Dumaguete, and a staunch anti-lotto campaigner, said gambling per se is not a sin but when it becomes excessive or rampant, that makes it immoral.
Tulabing, who led a prayer with students from various Catholic schools in the city before the public hearing, said that instead of promoting hard work and industriousness, lotto makes the people become indolent when they put their hard-earned money on betting in a game of chance.
“Lotto is milking on the poor and is a manifestation of the loss of values and respect for what is morally upright”, he said.
Lotto operators and a relatively large group of supporters led the opposing camp, some of them testifying to having been helped by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office through financial assistance for surgery and hospitalization.
Federico Damole of the PCSO Regional Office, while staying away from discussing the morality issue, explained the legalities of the lotto operation.
He said PCSO has zero earnings at the start of each year as whatever finances have been accumulated at the end of the previous year had been given to charity.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dumaguete are expected to continue deliberations on the application for business permits of the 15 lotto operators.
Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria earlier announced that his stand will depend on the SP’s recommendations.
Some SP members had questioned the seeming inaction of the chief executive to follow up on the notices of closure issued against erring lotto operators about a year ago.*JFP
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