Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is signalling an intensification of his war on gambling after issuing an executive order that clarifies the roles of various gaming license authorities.
The decidedly unsexy Executive Order No. 13, which Duterte signed on February 2, chopped through the country’s alphabet soup of regulatory agencies by stating that all regulatory agencies need to operate within the bounds of their respective jurisdictions. It also offered a rare moment of self-criticism from Duterte by acknowledging that there has been a great deal of confusion on this matter, according to Philstar.com.
Executive Order No. 13 takes a more sinister turn in the sections that define exactly what Duterte considers to be illegal gambling and its potential impact on the people of the Philippines saying:
Whereas, the State condemns the existence of illegal gambling activities as a widespread social menace and source of corruption, as it has become an influential factor in an individual’s disregard for the value of dignified work, perseverance and thrift.
To anyone who has been following Duterte’s war on drugs, and its skyrocketing body count, will likely get a chill from that particular line of executive doublespeak.
Duterte is not a leader who is completely willing to cut off his country’s badly needed tax revenues. To that end, he did clarify that international customers are welcome to gamble through licensed online operators. Late last year, Duterte attempted to snuff out all online gambling coming through the country, but balked when he saw the cost to the government’s bottom line.
Whether Duterte’s efforts to snuff out illegal gambling work or not will depend largely on whether his supporters, and the vigilante death squads they operate, have the same distaste for gambling that they have for illegal drugs.