Duterte admits he can't go all-out yet vs jueteng as many to be jobless, others may engage in illegal drugs
President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that his administration could not declare yet an intensified campaign against jueteng or illegal numbers game as many Filipinos could lose their livelihood.
In an interview in Bohol on Thursday, Duterte also raised concern that if he would stop jueteng at this time, those involved would transfer to the operation of illegal drugs.
"I am not saying that I'm not going to take any action. I will. But I am aware of the danger that will develop after you stop jueteng. And the networking of the jueteng lords, that's where I'm a bit worried," he said.
Duterte said jueteng is centuries-old and it has "a very extensive and intensive network."
"Now, if I'm going to stop it, I must be prepared to give another livelihood scheme to the people. Because without that, you can't have an alternative (livelihood) - the replacement will be drugs. It's more deadly," he said.
Duterte said the government must be prepared to give alternative livelihood for those who would be displaced.
"I'm still thinking where to get money and how to divide the little money that we have to give to everybody a chance to earn a living for the day," Duterte said.
Jueteng is illegal under Republic Act No. 9287 or An Act Increasing the Penalties for Illegal Numbers Games, Amending Provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1602, and For Other Purposes.
The law defines jueteng as an illegal numbers game that involves the combination of 37 numbers against 37 numbers from number one to 37 or the combination of 38 numbers in some areas, serving as a form of local lottery where bets are placed and accepted per combination and its variants.
The penalties for any person who participates in any illegal numbers game, including jueteng, vary.
They could be imprisonment of 30 days up to 20 years depending on the person's participation and gravity of the crime. Celerina Monte/DMS