Catholic bishops oppose opening of casino in Urdaneta City and San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija

June 14, 2010 8:35 pm 

MANILA, June 14 –Catholic bishops are blocking the plan to open a casino in Urdaneta City, and San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija.

Seven Catholic prelates in Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija comprising the Ecclesiastical Metropolitan Province of Lingayen Dagupan expressed opposition for building gambling establishments in their provinces, saying that it will only open more doors for corruption.

“If it is not legally possible to close all casinos immediately, we plead with the government not to open new ones,” the prelates said in their pastoral letter released Monday.

They furthered, “Opening another casino will open more doors for corruption and pave the way for the impoverishment of the families of the gamblers.”

The letter entitled “Restoring integrity, alleviating poverty” was signed by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Alaminos Bishop Marlo Peralta, Urdaneta Bishop Jacinto Jose, Nueva Ecija Bishop Mylo Vergara, Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud, La Union Bishop Artemio Rillera and Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Renato Mayugba.

The bishops also cited other negative effects of gambling in the society were the rise of criminality, the spread of prostitution and the shameless corruption of those engaged in the business.

“Gambling and upright moral values cannot flourish side by side. Gambling breeds indolence and laziness. Gambling destroys families and corrupts people. At the end of the day, even winners in gambling games become poorer and end up addicted to this malady,” the letter added.

With this, the bishops said they are ready to help to the incoming administration of Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to fight corruption and to find solution in solving the other perennial problem of the country, poverty.

“We have livelihood programs and micro financing projects initiated by former President Cory and now flourishing in many parts of Luzon. We do not only offer protest. We offer viable practical moral alternatives,” they added.

The letter also read, “We appeal to the government to aggressively fight corruption and diminish poverty. One of the first steps the government must take is to stop the opening of more casinos.

"The right step is values education for the children and livelihood opportunities for the poor. Opening another casino– in Urdaneta and San Leonardo or in any other place– is a step deviating from our vision.”(PNA) LOR/FGP/utb

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