BAGUIO CITY February – The city government stands pat on its earlier decision to shutdown electronic bingo outlets operating in the different parts of the city which are without the expressed consent of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) anchored on the endorsement of the local government.
Dr. Braille Van Reyes, city permits and licensing officer, said the city will close the operation of the electronic bingo outlet of Mr. Farael A. Tabora along Marcos highway after the operator failed to renew its business permit for this year.
“We intend to conduct a joint inspection on the area of the electronic bingo operation to validate some reported violations aside from its operations is not governed by a valid local business permit,” Reyes stressed.
Earlier, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan wrote PAGCOR Chairman Cristino Naguiyat, Jr. to cancel the permit it issued to Mr. Tabora to operate an electronic bingo outlet along Marcos highway because the letter of no objection that he issued dated 14 April 2014 no longer has no ground to stand on after a number of city councillors denied having signed a proposed resolution dated 25 March 2014 interposing no objection to the operation of the aforesaid e-bingo outlet which was supposed to be the basis of his letter.
Reyes explained the city government will no longer wait for the expiration of the permit issued by the PAGCOR to the e-bingo operator this coming May because the mere fact that the operator failed to renew its permit for 2015 is already a ground for closure considering that the business is operating without permit.
In the case of the electronic bingo games operated in SM City Baguio, Reyes said the permit issued to sM is to operate traditional bingo and not electronic bingo.
For this year, he explained SM management dropped the electronic bingo on its permit and decided to hold on to its permit for traditional bingo games.
In the case of the Highland Gaming Corporation governed by a local ordinance, the city permits and licensing officer said the permit issued to the corporation is to operate traditional bingo but the local government will conduct series of surprise inspections to the said bingo outlets to validate reports whether or not they are operating electronic bingo games which would be in violation of their permits and warrants the closure of their outlets in the future.
Under the PAGCOR Charter, individuals and groups wanting to operate casinos, bingo games among other legal gambling activities are mandated to secure the consent of the local government concerned through the certificate of no objection prior to the issuance of their respective permits from the State Corporation.
Domogan reiterated the city’s stand against all forms of gambling, primarily focused on illegal gambling in order to help in bringing back the values of the people and to compel them to embrace holistic living.
In a related development, members of the Baguio-Benguet Ecumenical Group, a multi-sectoral organization of various religious groups in the city, agreed to conduct an all-out campaign against the presence of gambling in the city as they committed to include in their respective homilies this Sunday the evils of gambling and the serious negative effects it inflicts to the living condition of the people.
The religious groups that committed to wage an all-out war against gambling include the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Baguio Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, among other religious sects.
For the past several years, the city council had been passing a number of resolutions expressing the city government’s vehement objection to all forms of gambling that operate in the city but it seems such resolutions were simply set aside by regulating agencies as they continue to allow operations of legal gambling in the different parts of the city.
By Dexter A. See