Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Text message asks Laoag City dads to legalize gambling in wakes

By Bernard Ver

LAOAG CITY—A text message from a Laoag resident has asked the Sangguniang Panlungsod here to consider gambling in wakes.

The text message, with the sender not identified, specifically asked for the council to legalize mahjong during wakes.

The text was forwarded to Laoag Vice Mayor Franklin Respicio; who then endorsed it Laoag councilor Handy Lao, who chairs the council’s committee on games and amusement.

Mr. Lao said they will study it further but stressed that Presidential Decree 1602, or the Philippine Gambling Laws, will serve as their guide.

The said law states that the operation of gambling like 'Mahjong' as an example in P.D. 1602 section 1 paragraph (a); will be considered illegal if wagers or bet is consisting of money, articles of value or representative of value are at stake or made.

Gambling in wakes is ingrained in the Filipino culture; however, it has also lately become an avenue for some people to take advantage of it.

The so-called “Atong King” or “Atong Queen” provides free caskets and burial for the dead. In exchange, they take over gambling operations during the wake’s duration. They also ask for the wake’s extension if they have yet to recoup their investments.

These freebies became helpful for the dead’s family, especially to those who cannot afford decent caskets and burials.

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