Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte is full of surprises. Last week in what could be termed as a U-turn on his policy on gambling in the country, Duterte asked Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chairperson, Andrea Domingo, to facilitate more gambling activities in the country.
Duterte’s statement during his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 22 was interpreted as softening of his stand on gambling.
After the presidential address when Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was asked if it meant that he would lift the moratorium on Philippine casinos he said that it “would be the logical consequence of what he said.”
It was only in February 2018 when president Duterte had issued a moratorium banning the issuance of licenses for new casinos in the country.
In his July 22 presidential address, the President also commended Domingo for delivering PHP 16 billion (USD 313 million) in revenues to state coffers as of July 2019. In May this year, Pagcor announced that it remitted a record dividend of PHP 16.17 billion to the National Treasury.
However, following the announcement, last week in a video message through his official page, Duterte ordered: “the closure, the stoppage of all gaming schemes of whatever nature, however, done, that got their franchises to do so from the PCSO.”
Soon after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered PCSO to close all its operations across the country, the Philippine National Police (PNP) was sworn into action to execute a nationwide drive to shut all PSCO outlets including lotto.