As introduction to alternative scriptwriting, our scripwriting professor asked us to watch a few films, one of which was Kubrador, which I watched last Tuesday at a commercial theater.
True enough, Kubrador, as opposed to movies with traditional three-act storylines, did not have an apparent and cohesive plot. It simply was a narration of the daily life of Amy (played by Gina Pareño), as a jueteng bet collector.
The film was narrated as if everything is ordinary in the everyday life of the film’s characters. Despite being untraditional in its storytelling, I really like and appreciate the movie. It reveals a lot about the situation of Amy and it provides a glimpse into how hard life is for a lot of people in the Philippines.
Back in my first semester as a freshman, I made a short position paper about jueteng. According to a special report in a national daily back in 2000, a total of 64 million pesos is gambled in jueteng every day. That’s as much as 23 billion pesos a year, twice the government’s annual health budget. But in reality, in the case someone wins a bet, he only gets 6 to 15 percent of the total jueteng revenue. A fourth or more goes to the jueteng payola, which includes the police and government officials. Much of the rest goes to the jueteng operators / jueteng lords. And the spoils are left for the kabos and kubradors.
And that’s the irony. Despite the huge revenues this game reaps nationwide, those who toil to bet and collect these bet, remain impoverished. And they will remain betting on jueteng as long as they don’t see a brighter future and better alternatives to escape such situations.