Crackdown on illegal STLs in Cebu City: 64 structures taken down, more to be demolished
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The sheer number of Cebu City’s illegal small-town lottery (STL) surprised the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (PROBE) team as they continue to tear down STL stalls in barangays (villages).
As of June 1, 2021, 64 STL structures have been torn down by the PROBE team in various barangays, including San Roque, Tinago, and Tejero.
The most recent crackdown in Barangay Guadalupe on May 31, 2021, resulted into ten STLs demolished in different areas.
Racquel Arce, the head of PROBE, said they were surprised that under the city government’s nose, these unauthorized STLs managed to operate.
This time, she warned the operators to stop their operations and tear down their structures even before the PROBE could get to them just so they will no longer go through the hassle of demolition.
“Akoa lang ikahangyo, for those nga nag-operate, nga they won’t take it against us. Dili lang mi personalun. Suma sa una, without instruction kay wala mi nanghilabot. Karon nga naa nay instruction, kung moapproach ang PROBE, hinaot nga inyong i-heed,” said Arce.
(We just hope that those operators won’t take it against us. Don’t take it personally. Before this, without instruction, we didn’t do anything. But now that we have instructions, if the PROBE approaches, we hope that you heed.)
Aside from the 64 STLs already taken down, at least 40 more will be demolished in Barangays Talamban and Pardo. Once these STLs will be taken down, the total will reach 84.
Arce said they should have taken down the 20 STLs in Barangay Talamban on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, but bad weather forced them to put on hold any demolition operation.
This is because, along with all emergency services in the city, the PROBE is also on standby to respond to any emergency situation brought about by the Tropical Storm Dante.
Once the storm has passed, the PROBE team will coordinate again with the police stations holding jurisdiction to the respective target barangays and conduct the demolition as soon as possible.
“Dili nalang unta sila maghulat. Hunungon na nila daan ila operations ‘ron, tangtangon na nila daan,” Arce said.
(I hope they don’t wait for us to come. They should stop their operations now, and take it down in advance.)
Based on their monitoring, PROBE said the number of STLs is far greater than the identified 84 and may even reach a hundred. But they are focusing on the barangays which are heavily infested with illegal STLs as of now.
Arce hopes that the continuous crackdown would encourage those who insist on operating their illegal STL to stop or else the Cebu City government and the police will go after them next.
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