By Herbert Vego
AN Ilonggo, a front-page news item screamed, “is taking home a total P401,186, 804.80 jackpot prize for winning the July 9, 2022 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) Grand Lotto draw.”
The winning 6/55 Grand Lotto number combination — 02, 18, 49, 07, 19, and 47 – was allegedly bought by an unidentified bettor at an unidentified lotto outlet in Iloilo City.
Of course, the PCSO would not identify the lone winner “for security reasons”; not even a vague clue.
Since not even the lotto outlet or selling agent is identified, it is impossible to confirm whether such a winner really exists.
So far, since 2016, three Ilonggos have allegedly won the multi-million lotto jackpots. Not one of them has been named.
We have read of an isang kahig, isang tuka laborer winning the jackpot after betting on the birthday dates of his family members; of a jeepney driver winning on dreamed numbers; or of a laundry woman winning after relentlessly betting on the same six-number combination for years.
On the other hand, we all know of rich people who have turned miserable after losing their hard-earned pile to gambling.
When I was a child, I saw my parents frequently buying PCSO sweepstakes tickets with “Manuel Uy” stamped on the back. The name stood for the agent who had sold the greatest number of winning tickets. He had popularized the adage, “A winner never quits. A quitter never wins.”
Not once did they win.
The numbers game is aimed at luring the gamblers to empty their pockets on an elusive dream. It’s from them that millions of pesos change hands.
If you are told that your chance of success in business is one in a million, would you go into business? I bet no.
Ironically, it’s not just one in a million chances but one in millions that a lotto bettor is up against. In fact, the probability of winning the 6/55 grand lotto – a combination of six numbers from 1 to 55 — is one in 28,989,675.
Therefore, if you gamble P20 million betting on one million combinations, you are nowhere near the winning line; you could contemplate suicide.
For a quick math on four other major draws, here are their number combinations: lotto 6/42 – 5, 245, 876; mega lotto 6/45 – 8, 145, 060; and super lotto 6/49 – 13,983, 816.
What about the 6/58 Ultra Lotto where no winner has been reported so far? According to PCSO statistics, there are 175,711,156 combinations here.
Obviously, the alleged millions of pesos accumulated for the jackpot actually comprise the bulk of money lost by starry-eyed bettors.
But then, let us admit that luck may show up even in the most unexpected situations.
Losers may console themselves with the thought that their losses go to charity.
EXTRA SERVICE FROM MORE
OVER coffee at Café del Prado, I asked Jonathan Cabrera (PR man of MORE Electric and Power Corp.) this question: “What makes you so sure many residents of Passi City and 15 towns of Iloilo province would connect with MORE Power?”
It is public knowledge that the distribution utility’s expansion beyond Iloilo City would result in competition with Iloilo Electric Cooperative (ILECO).
“Better service,” Cabrera quipped. “It would take time to install substations and other units of equipment, but everything will come up new.”
There have been rumors that ILECO would propose a joint venture with MORE to facilitate the latter’s entry, but it’s “tsismis lang”.
Indeed, I have seen with my naked eyes how MORE linemen quickly respond to accidental power outages. With President Roel Z. Castro at the helm, the company goes “unli” in performing acts of community service and corporate social responsibility.
As I said in a previous column, its security force had gone beyond its call of duty recently by ridding Villa Beach of 15 sacks of debris and garbage.
It was not just a one-day volunteerism on the part of their security force for a cleaner environment. They do that activity on a Saturday once a month on the theme, “A greener earth, one community at a time.”
They did it by the seawall and the streets surrounding Fort San Pedro, where lovers come to date.
“We clean up their trash,” a MORE official bantered.
And for their own physical fitness, they go jogging and calisthenics, etc. They also attend seminars on gun safety, gun handling, investigation and fire-response.