Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines has created a lot of controversy within the first year of his rule as his government looks to crackdown on corruption, wage war on narcotics and clean up the country. Rodrigo has received a lot of criticism especially for his war on drugs as it has resulted in 4,700 deaths which include drug peddlers and users.
The President had also targeted the gambling industry and instructed gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to not renew the gaming licenses for Philweb Corp, the biggest provider of e-bingo and e-games in the country. Duterte believed that these e-bingo parlors were preying on the Filipinos who were struggling financially and were willing to spend their money at these parlors in an attempt to get rich.
The Duterte led government has received flak for not going after illegal gambling operators in the country as they also exploit Filipinos and also eat into the revenue of legalized gambling operators. The President recently addressed this issue and stated that while his government wanted to crackdown on the illegal gambling industry, they were constrained due to a lack of resources.
In a statement, President Duterte said “The problem is I do not have the men to focus on one area like in the campaign against illegal drugs. Duterte also admitted that the illegal gambling industry is backed by government officials and the police and said “Usually it’s always under the protection and consent of the police precinct commanders, which in turn has the blessing of the RD (regional director) and upwards. That’s how it is. I saw it works in the Philippines.”
Earlier this year, Duterte handpicked a number of senior executives who were commissioned to lead the campaign against the drug trafficking and illegal gambling industry. PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa was chosen to lead the crackdown on the illegal gambling industry and back in August 2016, Rosa promised that the authorities will go after illegal gambling operators once the crackdown on the drug industry was completed.
When the ‘war on drugs’ campaign was launched, President Duterte had given his government time till December 2016 to clean up the country. However that deadline was extended till June 30, 2017 as Duterte stated that the drug problem in the Philippines was a lot more serious than initially estimated. There is no indication as of now, if the crackdown on the illegal gambling industry will commence in July 2017 or if it will be shelved for a later date due to a lack of manpower resources.