President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his socialist ideals, is channeling his inner XI Jingping as he orders the ban of government officials in casinos.
News website Politiko reported that Duterte ordered Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chief Andrea Domingo to strictly implement Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1067-B, which was issued by the late Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1983.
Under PD No. 1067, those who are prohibited to play in casinos are government officials connected directly with the operation of the government or any of its agencies; members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the Army, Navy, Air Force or Constabulary; and persons under 21 years of age or students of any school, college or university in the Philippines.
But aside from government officials, Duterte also wanted spouses and children of politicians and government officials be included in the casino ban.
“I do not want people in the government entering the casino. You are in the government with a measly income and yet you’ll be seen in a casino?” read Duterte’s transcript, which was quoted by the news agency.
Duterte recalled that during the time of Marcos, government officials were forbidden from stepping into casinos.
In the past, PAGCOR has allowed prominent government officials to play in casinos including ousted President Joseph Estrada in 1996 and Land Transportation Office Chief Virgie Torres in 2013.
In 2001, Arroyo issued a memorandum reiterating the ban on government officials from playing in casinos.
The ban on government officials in Casinos is one of the controversial gambling policies that Duterte introduced since he assumed the top post in the Philippine government on July 1.
During his first cabinet meeting, Duterte directed PAGCOR to rescind the online gambling licenses it has issued as he “didn’t want “a proliferation of gambling activities all over the country” and complained that too many Filipinos were choosing to gamble instead of working for a living.
Philippines mulls use of US$ 21.41M PAGCOR budget for new drug rehab centers
In another PAGCOR news, the Philippine government is planning to divert P1 billion (US$ 21.41M) worth of state regulator’s budget to set up treatment and rehabilitation centers for an estimated 1.8 million drug dependents in the country.
“We need new facilities that can cater about 15,000 dependents. That would mean building new facilities that will cater to three times the current capacity,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said, according to the Philippine News Agency.
The country has 20 drug rehabilitation centers managed by the DOH and local government units which can treat 5,000 patients.
Citing estimates of the Dangerous Drugs Board, Ubial said there are 1.8 million drug dependents, and about 18,000 of them need in-house treatment.