Gambling in Elementary Curriculum

"Bingo! No classes today. We will play BINGO!"

Can you Imagine children aged between 6 and 12 playing bingo? Yesterday, I witnessed these children being influenced by adults - parents and even teachers - on playing bingo in lieu of their regular afternoon classes.

In the public elementary school where one of my son studies, they played the bingo game to raise funds.

This may be for a good cause. But hey! Remember, the end does not justify the means! Showing kids that it is perfectly alright to gamble is another issue. I cannot fathom for the life of me, why the Parent-Teacher's Association (as far as I know) resorted into this kind of activity.

From the information I gathered, the teachers required each pupil to sell or buy ten (10) pieces of bingo cards sold at ten pesos each. A total of 100 pesos each child (US$2.50). Equivalent to about five kilograms of rice. This public school has a lot of poor students. Every cent has its worth and some parents had a hard time even just sending their children in this tuition-free school.

Some people said this has been done for a while, annually for fund raising. The children and the community are already used to it. I think they are taking advantage of the juvenile's vulnerability just to be able to raise money.

I tried to accompany my son, in order to check it myself and in the hope of explaining to him that this is fun and something worthwhile. But also, trying to inculcate that this is unhealthy for children - playing for something to win. Playing is different from gambling. I know he knows what I have in mind as I took photos and videos. He left, got bored. I got bored as well.

With all my might, I tried to observe and enjoy the event. However, what I saw are people of from different walks of life - from different social standing. I believe most of them were on the poverty line, gambling, trying to win something that day. I even saw a mother, seating on the pavement of the covered court breastfeeding her baby! So unbelievable but true!

I almost talked to the principal or the supervisor that day. I was just taken aback by the usual fear that my son, studying in that school might take the hit and the heat. I know some of my fellowmen who does not take criticisms positively. There are some questions that bug me until now.

  • Does the Philippines' Department of Education (DepEd) know this activity of influencing juveniles to gamble?
  • Do the proponents know that, whether they admit it or not, this bingo is a precursor to adolescent gambling?
  • Did they even think how it will affect children, seeing adults including their teachers and parents (plus other people they look up to), socializing in a gambling function?
And come to think of it... This is just a small part of my town in Nueva Ecija. At the foot of Sierra Madre.

Where the youngest gamblers are nurtured. The youth.....

The future of my country.

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