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6 of 10 Caraganons hooked into illegal gambling 'Swertres' - study

Butuan City (March 15) -- Six of every 10 Caraga residents were already duped, addicted or hooked into illegal numbers game called, Swertres, a study made by independent groups here, such as the Movement for Good Governance (MGG), said.

MGG, in a press statement, claimed it was alarmed by the increasing number of minors betting into illegal numbers game Swertres and school children hooked into illegal video games such as fruit games and others in internet cafes.

"Thus affecting quality of education because some skipped classes just to play their favorite video games in internet cafes with some situated even near public and private school edifices", the press statement said.

The group's press statement, signed by its head convenor Engr. Juanito Dimagiba, claimed that rural public and private elementary and high schools were mostly victimized by proliferation of illegal gambling activities than their urban counterparts.

The pressing problems faced by urban public and private schools include the proliferation of illegal drugs and fraternities and sororities that sometimes resort to frat conflicts and gangsterism.

Illegal numbers game Swertres, according to the group, got its three times daily results from state-owned PCSO lotto Swertres games, which are drawn three times a day.

But the group claimed that the eager Caraga bettors, mostly aging 20 to 50 years old, preferred to bet in illegal numbers games Swertres than in lotto outlets because the former offers cheap betting by as low as P1 than at PCSO outlets which has a minimum bet of P10.

In the 20 years old to 50 years old age bracket hooked into illegal numbers game SWERTRES, majority of them were housewives, sari-sari storeowners, ordinary wage earners, vendors, PUJ, trisikad, jeepney and PUB drivers and others. In short most of the are ordinary folks but illegal numbers game financers were rich traders some were politicians", the MGG study showed.

The study further shows that illegal numbers game SWERTRES bettors bet 20 percent of their daily wage earnings, hoping to win but ended frustrated, saying the winning spree was only one out of six bettors in every six months.

"But since they are already hooked and willing to sacrifice part of their earnings even they knew the chances of winning is very impossible, they still bet almost daily, due to the absence of outside influence mechanisms educating them well to stop", the study said.

The study also revealed giving tips aired over local radio stations almost hourly, daily and printed over local newspapers claiming numbers given on air were surefire winning numbers tip from alleged PCSO reliable insiders have contributed a lot to the illegal gambling addiction.

"Some local radio commentators giving live on air illegal numbers game tip make it as a come on to listeners, at times, it is the only thing listeners listened to their radio program added insult injury to people addicted into illegal gambling", the study said.

The MGG study also said that illegal gambling financiers raked in P500,000 to P1 million daily as they don't pay taxes to the government. Illegal gambling financers are actually legitimate local businessmen, mostly rice and wood traders, who refused to pay taxes, except protection money given to government authorities.

Protection money is also given to a popular radio station known for its combating stance, which claimed to be people protector but is actually illegal gambling financers' protector, the MGG alleged.

The financers are afraid of this radio station because it is feared for its tongue lashing commentaries little knowing that it was only a camouflage as freedom fighter but actually relentless, undoubtedly corrupt", the statement alleged.

The group warned that if the untouchable and unabated illegal gambling trade in the region, there will be more Caraga residents addicted to illegal numbers game and by 2012 it will be 9 out of 10 Caraga residents addicted to it.

The study was made from November 2009 to February this year funded by the group. (Ben Serrano/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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