BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Councilor Al Victor Espino is requesting various government agencies to intensify their campaign against illegal gambling specifically the entry of Small Town Lottery (STL) operation in the City of Bacolod without the necessary permit and franchise, thus depriving the city of the revenue it deserves.
The resolution he authored, which was approved by the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod, was addressed to the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Bacolod, and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
It has been noted that there are small town lottery operations in the city without the required business permit and franchise to operate within the City of Bacolod duly issued by the national government, the resolution said.
The operation of STL in the city is unauthorized and illegal considering that it fails to obtain a franchise and business permit from the city-government. Hence, its operation falls squarely within the definition of illegal gambling and is punishable by imprisonment under the law, it said.
The bulk of the bets collected from STL operations came from the city, yet the city government does not receive any single centavo as revenue from its operation. Clearly, the city has been deprived of the necessary revenues since the operator of STL only obtains permits and licenses from the province and not with the city government and does not remit the revenue share of the local government to the City of Bacolod, the resolution said.
There is a projected decrease in the city’s share in national taxes for the year 2023 to about P300 million, a need to collect license and permit fees from STL operations will mitigate the said losses, it said.
The continued operation of STL in the city without the necessary permits and franchise is an affront and a total disrespect to the authority of the city government as it continues to operate by circumventing the law, the resolution said.
The active participation and the consistent campaign of the BCPO, CIDG and NBI against the operation of STL without the imprimatur of the city government are necessary and indispensable in order to put a stop to the illegal operation, and to restore respect to the authority of the city government, it added.*