I would like to voice out my opposition to Lotto and the proposal that it should be made available nationwide, which means that it could be introduced anytime now in our city and province. Despite the opposition of Cebu officials who are even planning an “anti-lotto summit” among mayors in the said province, an article in Panay News (August 15,1995) recently spoke of the foreseen favorable acceptance of the scheme in our city headed no less by our “popular mayor with populist tendencies.” And since the arguments of anti-gambling advocates have been time and again accused by the media and the government agencies involved as “hypocritical” (whatever that means) I would like to argue from the perspective of Filipino values - the values that make or unmake our nation.
There is in us, a collective unconscious or “mind-set” at work in our value system as Filipinos. We may not be conscious of them but they condition us to respond in a particular way to the demands of life and is externally manifested in our behavior towards a given situation, and in our attitudes towards a particular life-need. This mind-set could even go as far as influencing our social structure affecting not only individuals or groups but the whole social system as well.
One particular mind-set which we have as Filipinos is the tendency to devalue hard work. This tendency is brought in part because the virtue of hard and skilled work is seldom rewarded by our society. Take for example the landowners. They do not till and sweat it out in the fields but it is they who are financially rewarded. It is the smart businessman who take advantage of a given situation, (who hoard for example huge stocks of rice in his bodegas, creating an artificial shortage and sell his stocks in time of dire need) who gets huge rewards for himself. It is the smart politician, who designs devious schemes who gets elected into office. And worse we want to become like them.
Our society rewards these kind of people - people who wants to profit from anything and everything they could get their hands to without the sweat and the skills that real work entails. Gambling is one of them and so is graft and corruption and so is one popular charismatic movement who has equated God’s grace with material favors alone. They run through the same vein - the collective unconscious in us Filipinos telling us that we could be rich, be prosperous and be materially rewarded without working hard for it. With this value how could we progress economically? With a government officially sanctioning gambling which advances such attitude and perspective, how could we ever progress competitively with our neighbors or just simply feed our population. No, its not just morality which is at issue here (an issue which this government could not understand anyway). It is about values, attitudes, behaviors which could propel us to progress or could keep us poor forever.
As we continue delving the depths of our value systems let us reflect on this for as PCP II has observed that our nation’s ills “are traceable to our cultural values interacting with a social system which provides the ‘wrong’ signals and encourages the ‘wrong’ type of behavior.”