By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – As part of the intensified campaign against illegal gambling, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, on Monday said he ordered all five district police directors in Metro Manila to ban all forms of gambling during wakes.
“Ngayon may directive maski sa patay bawal po saklaan. I-stop na [Now, there is a directive that even in the funeral, gambling is now prohibited],” Sinas said in a press briefing in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The five districts under the NCRPO are the Manila Police District (MPD), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Northern Police District (NPD), Southern Police District (SPD), and Eastern Police District (EPD).
Sinas said he had already talked with local chief executives in Metro Manila on the implementation of his directive which is an offshoot of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) one-strike policy against illegal gambling.
“Sakla”, a popular card game which is similar to the Spanish tarot, is popular game during wakes to draw mourners and keep them awake as part of the Filipino culture.
The card game also serves as income-generating for the family of the dead, especially for the poor who have to raise money to pay off burial expenses.
Aside from sakla, among the popular card games during wakes are “pusoy“, “tong-its” and bingo.
Attempts to prohibit games during wakes have been made in the past but barangay officials are forced to allow them out of compassion due to the appeal mostly of poor relatives of the dead.
This time, Sinas said, it would be strictly implemented, urging the public to not allow gambling at the funerals.
He said if the people will continue to practice gambling at wakes, raids would be conducted.
“Pag matigas ay automatic ma-raid ang guidance ko pakiusapan muna, ‘pag hindi, raid [If they are not following the order, raid is automatic, my guidance is to ask them to stop it and if not, conduct raid],” he said.
He warned that he will relieve commanders who will fail to stop gambling during wakes within their areas of responsibility.
Sinas said even gambling in fiestas in villages are now prohibited unless a permit was issued by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).
He said special monitoring will be conducted to make sure that the new policy would not be just ‘ningas kugon’ (fades away quickly).
Last week, Sinas sacked 10 police officials, three police chiefs and seven unit commanders due to the existence of illegal gambling in their areas. (PNA)