Legacion junks STL permit application

NAGA CITY -- Mayor Nelson Legacion has denied the application for mayor’s permit of Evenchance Gaming Corporation to operate the Small Town Lottery (STL) here.

Bicol Mail sources said STL operation in Camarines Sur started on March 1, 2020. The daily draw and remittance of bets are reportedly being conducted somewhere in Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City.

In an interview, Legacion said his refusal to issue mayor’s permit for the STL operation is based on principle and his personal stance against gambling, even if the STL operation is authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Three weeks ago, Jerome Banez, vice president of Evenchance Gaming Corporation requested for the issuance of mayor’s permit however his request was denied by Legacion.

To recall, former Mayor John Bongat also denied a similar STL application for mayor’s permit during his term. However, despite of the non-issuance of the permit, STL operation in the city pushed through due to the authority given by PCSO to the STL operator.

Legacion said he believed that only the national government can stop the STL operation or Congress should enact a law against its operation.

Meanwhile, Councilor Salvador del Castillo, who previously served in the Department of Finance (DOF) bared that based on the joint memorandum circular of the DOF and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), an STL operator is exempted from securing mayor’s permit or business permit. However, as a courtesy to local a government unit where it operates, the operator is required to pay the regulatory fees.

If the STL operator does not comply with this requirement, the city government can order the closure of the STL operation, del Castillo said.

He said he will wait for the letter of Legacion to the city council about the STL issue.

In reaction to this, Legacion said he respects the councilor’s statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a stop to the STL operation nationwide in July 2019 recently. The order was lifted after Evenchance Gaming Corporation paid PCSO some P200 million in unpaid obligations.

The STL operator also deposited with PCSO a cash bond of P50 million including a remittance of P1.6 million for the month of Dec. 2019.