Anti-gambling advocates to hold mass action

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BAGUIO CITY  – Thousands of anti-gambling advocates are expected to converge in front of the city hall on Monday, May 25, 2015, to express their outrage over the latest action of the city council interposing no objection to the operation of an electronic bingo gaming station along Marcos highway which virtually deviated from the previous position of the city government against all forms of gambling.

Members of the Baguio Multi-sectoral and Ecumenical Group (BMG) are expected to lead the mass action with support coming from the cross-section of the city’s population in order to send the clear message that majority of the people of the city were not elated over the latest council action that will pave the way for the proliferation of gambling that would ruin the morals of the local residents and will further increase the evils of gambling.

The mass action will be done in time with the appearance of officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) before the city council in order to shed light on the procedures on how amusement permits are being granted to applicants even without the consent of host local governments and why was the e-bingo outlet of a certain Mr. Rafael A. Tabora allowed to operate for more than a year without the formal endorsement from the local legislative body.

Under the new PAGCOR Charter, amusement operators are required to first secure the consent of the concerned local governments where they intend to operate through the required certificate of no objection prior to the issuance of the permit from the State-owned gaming corporation.

In the case of Tabora’s e-bingo operations along Marcos highway, PAGCOR issued the amusement permit even with the absence of a formal endorsement from the city government considering that some of those who purportedly signed an unnumbered resolution dated 25 March 2014 interposing no objection to the operation of the said outlet denied having signed the same that prompted Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan to ask PAGCOR Chairman Cristino Naguiyat to cancel the permit it issued to Mr. Tabora which never happened.

Organizers of the mass action claimed the rally to be done in front of city hall will show how the people of the city are disgusted over the way local legislators handle the controversial issues that tend to affect the morals of the people and sacrifice efforts to rid the city of illegal and legal forms of gambling.

According to the group, allowing Mr. Tabora’s e-bingo gaming station to wilfully operate will open the floodgates to the establishment of more e-bingo outlets that would jeopardize efforts of concerned sectors to instil good values and morals to the people, especially the youth so as not to embrace gambling as a way of life in the city.

For the past two decades, the city council had been passing several resolutions expressing the city government’s opposition to the proliferation of all forms of gambling in the different parts of the city because they do not want the morals of the people to be compromised that will result to the existence of a ‘sin city.’

The group asserted that undeniably huge sums of money could have changed hands that forced majority of city councilors to favour the e-bingo operations. By Dexter A. See

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