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ABANTE TO SK: HELP STOP GAMBLING IN COMMUNITIES

“With more benefits come more responsibility.”

This according to House Deputy Speaker and newly-reelected Manila 5th District Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr., who on Wednesday stressed that the recently enacted law providing additional benefits for members of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) was intended to provide incentives that would allow SK officers to focus more on their duties as leaders in their communities.

“Our SK leaders can organize information drives to warn parents and youth in our communities, as well as think of productive outlets for the boundless energy of our younger kababayans.”

Abante, one of the House authors of Republic Act (RA) 11768, urged SKs to undertake more programs to benefit young people in barangays, specifically those that will prevent them from picking up vices like smoking and gambling.

“Gambling, in particular, appears to be hooking more and more younger people. Before the President ordered a stop to e-sabong, we were getting disturbing news of teenagers regularly placing bets on online cockfighting,” lamented Abante, a vocal anti-gambling advocate.

Abante pointed out that according to the highly-respected Mayo Clinic, “gambling during childhood or the teenage years increases the risk of developing compulsive gambling.”

“More should be done to warn our youth about the dangers of vices such as gambling, which is slowly creeping into their lives via the devices they hold in their hands every day: their smartphones.”

Even with e-sabong currently disallowed, warned Abante, other forms of online gambling, such as card games, remain accessible to those who can access the internet.

“Our SK leaders can organize information drives to warn parents and youth in our communities, as well as think of productive outlets for the boundless energy of our younger kababayans. With the benefits now given to them by RA 11768, they should be able to do much more,” said the lawmaker.

RA 11768 was signed on May 6 by President Rodrigo Duterte. The law provides SK members with monthly honoraria, chargeable against the SK funds, in addition to any other compensation provided by RA 11768.

“More should be done to warn our youth about the dangers of vices such as gambling, which is slowly creeping into their lives via the devices they hold in their hands every day: their smartphones.”

Previously, only the SK chairperson received compensation. Under RA 11768, the monthly honoraria to be given to other SK officials will be distributed at the end of every regular monthly SK meeting, and these cannot exceed the monthly compensation received by the SK chairperson.

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