Illegal number games on the decline in W. Visayas

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Are “bookies” or illegal Small Town Lottery (STL) operations in Western Visayas waning?

Apparently so, if operations against illegal number games or activities in violation of the Republic Act 9287 from January to November 15, 2023 are to be used as the basis.

RA 9287 is an amendment act to Presidential Decree (PD) 1602 which imposes penalties for individuals taking part in illegal gambling activities. RA 9287 increases penalties set in PD 1602 and establishes the Anti-Illegal Gambling Board (AGB).

Illegal numbers games are defined in this amendment as all forms of illegal gambling such as but not limited to Jueteng, Masio, Last Two, Jai Alai, and Horse Racing that includes bookie operations and game fixing, Numbers, Bingo, non-government issued Lotteries and any other games of chance.

But in the case of Western Visayas, it’s usually the STL bookies operations.

From January to November 15, police conducted 326 operations that led to the arrest of  366 persons.

The Capiz Police Provincial Office (CPPO), Aklan PPO, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), and Guimaras PPO registered an increase in the number of operations.

CPPO more than doubled its operations from 43 operations in 2022 to 98 this year.

On the other hand, Aklan logged 54 operations from 30 in 2022.

ICPO posted a slight increase from 14 to 18 operations while Guimaras PPO recorded 3, up from 2 operations in 2022.

Units with fewer operations are Antique PPO – from x 21 to only 7 this year; Iloilo PPO – from 76 to 56; Negros Occidental PPO – from 124 to 85; and Bacolod City PO from 34 to only five.

Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, Western Visayas police chief, said that they have been conducting relentless operations against illegal gambling, particularly illegal number games, this year.

“Tuloy-tuloy ang huli, parang kagaya sa illegal drugs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Colonel Noel Aliño, Bacolod City police chief, explained that the steep decline in the number of operations against illegal gambling could be attributed to the almost non-existence of drug bookies operations in the area.

“Isa pa, pa-ulit-ulit long sinasabi sa mga tao ko na dapat no-take policy talaga. They should adhere kung ano ang dapat and be consistent about it,” he said.

Even illegal cockfighting or tupada is not spared in their operations.

Major Rolando Araño, IPPO spokesperson, also reasoned that there are fewer bookies operations in the province.

“May mga naga-attempt of doing of guerilla operations but we immediately have them arrested,” he said.

Araño also stressed that subordinate commanders were frequently told about the “no-take policy.”

“They’ve been warned about it,” he said.

So far, this has worked well in deterring the proliferation of illegal gambling, Araño added.