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A LOT TO bet on

On April 1, 1933, a Nationwide boycott of Jewish-owned businesses swept through Germany At 10 a.m., SA and SS members stood in front of Jewish-owned businesses throughout the nation to inform the public that the proprietors of these establishments are Jewish. “The word “Jude,” German for “Jew,” was often smeared on store display windows, with a Star of David painted in yellow and black across the doors. Anti-Jewish signs accompanied these slogans. In some towns, the SA marched through the streets singing anti-Jewish slogans and party songs. In other towns, violence accompanied the boycott; in Kiel, a Jewish lawyer was killed. The official boycott ended at midnight.” (

Yes, that is a far brutal, unjust and infamous analogy – one that would not probably be tolerated in our day and age. Just in case you don’t see the parallelism, shops which should have been protected by the state and the law due to their lawful existence, were abruptly withheld from regular operations in the morning. Ours may not be anti-Semitism, not racism, not racial superiority; but maybe it’s an animal of a different breed, of the same genus and species. At least, German Jews had the benefit of the escalation of the tension. They probably saw it coming, to some extent. They did not wake up one Saturday morning and got shocked out of their wits, without an inkling of previous warning, that they had to indefinitely close shop.

Just to get things straight, I don’t play lotto or any of these games of chance. I personally feel that spending my time on such recreational activities would be a waste of my time. To put it simply, I don’t gamble; I don’t bet on any of these. But what struck me with the President’s announcement last Saturday was this flashing image of lotto outlets being closed down and their employees rudely becoming unemployed; just like that. It was plain, simple and direct, the stoppage, closure of all gaming establishments. These are no illicit speakeasies. Filipinos actually go to work, and earn a living from these shops which supposedly have complied all legal requirements, according to the rules and regulations which provide for their institution and protect their operation. Then, with just a few words from a head of the state, these legally compliant establishments of trade would be barred from the exercise of an enterprise which they have gained license to perform. Yes, it may not be farming or fishing, but actual people actually legally make a living from legal gambling. So, just imagine one day when some authority tells you, you can’t do business anymore.

Then, announcement is aired on the government’s incapability of addressing the concerns for employment of displaced PCSO employees. It’s like saying, ‘we really don’t know how to clean up this mess’, so you all have to stay in that mess. Then, we have Atty. Panelo, basing his confidence on the alleged accumulated funds of people involved in the gaming business, sarcastically declare not to underestimate the Filipino spirit to be creative and diligent to find a new means of livelihood upon suddenly finding himself/herself unemployed. This Filipino spirit that he talks about rises in the midst of foreign oppression, that they band together to struggle against overwhelming odds, in poverty, that makes a youngster study and work at different times of the day, in the face of calamity, that pushes a typhoon victim to source for supplies and survive. To bet on the Filipino spirit to surpass through unemployment indirectly imposed by the state through the President is simply downright insensitive. The government has detonated a disaster and it is completely unable to contain it and its effects.

When a Filipino gets stricken with intense illness and in dire need of financial aid. What does he/she do? He/she applies for assistance from PCSO. I heard that at the provincial level, one could get a thousand pesos or more. You could get more when application has been filed in Metro Manila. So, what happens with that? So, I guess some Palace representative could refer them to other agency which dispenses financial assistance or perhaps to the private organizations that extend charitable aid. The administration seems to take lightly of the charitable extensions of income from legal games of chance.

Perhaps, a more humane option would have been to give a three to six month probation/warning for the gaming industry to prepare/defend itself. And I thought, it was Land Bank which the President has his ire on; but without warning, he decides to pull the doors on the betting stations.

What is there left to do?

“Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,” Isaiah 10:1

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