Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan in the southern Philippines raised concern over the reported spread of illegal gambling in Cotabato province.
“As a shepherd of this diocese, I am deeply concerned with the young people who are now exposed to and are now slowly being introduced into this kind of activity,” said the bishop in a report on CBCP News.
The city government of Kidapawan has earlier declared “war against illegal gambling.”
In an executive order dated July 26, Mayor Jose Paolo Evangelista ordered local police to intensify their campaign against activities, such as illegal cockfighting, and arrest violators.
Bishop Bagaforo said authorities cannot just ignore the adverse effects of gambling to the psyche of the people, especially the youth.
“We have our moral responsibility to safeguard and to promote values that will strengthen the family and life, to provide direction for the young as the hope of our city and the Church, and to combat corruption and the degradation of values,” the prelate said in a letter to Evangelista on July 30.
“It is my hope and prayer that this executive order will be sustained and will stop the activities of illegal gambling in our city of Kidapawan,” said the bishop.