Council to study proposed rescission of electronic bingo resolutions

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council decided to convene as a committee of the whole to study a proposed resolution rescinding two approved resolutions that interposed no objection to the operation of electronic and traditional bingo outlets in the Albergo Hotel, SM City Baguio, and the Baguio Center Mall.

The local legislative body designated Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano to be the chairperson of the committee of the whole to study the proposed resolution after Councilor Faustino A. Olowan, chairperson of the committee on laws, inhibited himself from studying the proposed resolution because it was his committee that recommended approval of the two assailed resolutions.

Earlier, the Council approved Resolutions 176 and 176-A that interposed no objection to the operation of an electronic and traditional bingo outlet in the Albergo Hotel by Bingo Palace Corporation and the renewal of the operation of the electronic and traditional bingo outlets in SM City Baguio and Baguio Center Mall by Highland Gaming Corporation during its May 22, 2017 regular session.

In her proposed resolution rescinding the two resolutions, Councilor Maria Victoria Mylen G. Yaranon argued her colleagues failed to consider the merit of the petitions and position papers submitted by the various religious groups and concerned sectors when it approved the two resolutions, citing that there was a total disregard of the sentiments of the residents against the existence of gambling joints in the different parts of the city.

She added under the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Gaming Site Regulatory Manual, specifically Section on site location distance requirements, it provides that the electronic and traditional bingo site must comply with the distance requirements, not less than 300 meters from schools, places of worships or churches, public markets among others.

According to her, the St. Joseph Church and Little Flower Retreat House, a church and a place of worship, Dr. Jose P. Rizal Elementary School, a public school, the Pacdal satellite market, which form part of the Baguio City market, are located within 300 meters from the Albergo Hotel, which is the proposed site of the Bingo Palace Corporation for its electronic and traditional bingo games.

On the other hand, The Church of the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, a church, is located within 300 meters from SM City Baguio while the Baguio City public market, the Baguio Central University, the University of Baguio and the St. Louis University are located within 300 meters from the Baguio Center Mall, the existing gaming site of Highland Gaming Corporation.

The resolution stated electronic and traditional bingo are games which involve money, thus, they are considered games of chance thereby making it addictive to some individuals.

It claimed problems arise when an addicted gambler acquires debts from numerous loan sharks or financial institutions, and personal and real properties are lost because of gambling addiction that results to bankruptcy and broken families.

She added as a Character City, the local government should promote the well-being of a family being the basic social institution, thus, residents must be guided to spend their time productively and/or to spend their time with their families and not for vices. By Dexter A. See

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