Baguio City anti-gambling campaign snowballs

BAGUIO CITY – Is this the beginning of the end for the often killed but time and again resurrected ‘bingoteng’?

A hefty number of members of the Liga ng mga Barangay (Liga) in a manifesto dated September 5 declared they are “absolutely against Jueteng, its spin-off, and all forms of gambling.”

The manifesto comes on the heels of a resolution by majority of the board of directors of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) withdrawing their support to the controversial “fundraiser” that threatened to divide the ABC last August.

Echoing the almost clichéd lines most often used by local officials amid calls for moral reform in the city, members of the Liga categorically said, “We now recognize that indeed, bingoteng is a spin-off of jueteng.”

ABC vice chair and Happy Homes Barangay chief Eva Marie Fianza said, “Signatures from other concerned, enlightened, and ‘conscientized’ barangay officials are still pouring in.”

She said, “Some of those who earlier favored bingoteng are now doing a turnaround realizing the ill-effects of bingoteng that has so far resulted to the moral degradation of some of our constituents and a bagful of bane promises.”

Claiming the manifesto reflects the Liga’s “unified stand,” the signatories said aside from bingoteng and jueteng, “other forms of gambling have slowly eaten away the values of hard work, of honesty, of decency among the members of our respective fiefs.”

Close to 60 of the 128-barangays earlier endorsed bingoteng as an alternative fundraiser to fund various barangay-based projects.

Former bingoteng supporters say, “For us who have initially acceded to the ‘bingo sa barangay’ (a.k.a. bingoteng) as a means of raising funds for barangay projects, we apologize to the citizens of our city, more particularly our youth.”

They admitted they never realized the evils that such have contributed to society, thus, the withdrawal of support.

The former bingoteng supporters also said they understand Republic Act No. 9287 (the Anti-gambling law) and they stand by it.

To prove their sincerity in fighting bingoteng and other forms of illegal gambling, the said local officials challenged locals to file cases against officials who “stray in [the] promise to fight all sorts of gambling in the city.”

They warned gambling operators not to even think about operating in their respective barangays or they would be dealt with accordingly. # ISL/PIO – Baguio City (NorDis)

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