BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance regulating the establishment of gaming sites authorized by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilors Elaine Sembrano and Maria Mylen Victoria G. Yaranon stated that it will prohibit all traditional bingo, electronic bingo or activities or similar games of chance, in all city government properties, including but not limited to, city government offices and facilities, city government residential and commercial buildings or lands under lease of any mode, vacant public lands and other city properties similarly situated.
Under the proposed ordinance, electronic games, electronic bongo and traditional bingo games and other similar games of chance operation outlets whether it be its business location, gaming site, receiving area, office, outlet or warehouse, including those located in malls or arcades, commercial buildings, 3-start hotels and resorts shall comply with the prescribed location requirements, specifically, not less than 400 meters from any school, place of worship, cockpit, horse racing outlet, public market, informal settlers community or settlement; gaming sites must not be less than 700 meters apart from each other; the site location distance must be duly certified by a licensed geodetic engineer; measurement of distance from proposed gaming site to any school, place of worship, cockpit, horse racing outlet, public market, informal settlers community or resettlement area will be measured using radial or point to point straight distance from property line to property line; distance from proposed gaming site to another gaming site shall be measured using radial or point to point straight distance from property line to property line; no standalone gaming site shall be allowed and written consent of the owner or manager of the commercial building should be presented.
The ordinance stipulated no business permit shall be issued to any traditional bingo, electronic bingo, card games, lotto and other similar games of chance or gambling operation that lease any prohibited site provided as its business location, gaming site, receiving area, office, outlet or warehouse.
The proponents explained any person whether individual or juridical entity found to have violated the ordinance shall be fined P5,000 and the confiscation and destruction of gambling equipment and paraphernalia.
In the case of a juridical entity, the ordinance stated the president or manager shall be considered as the liable persons for the violations committed by the company.
Upon approval of the ordinance, all existing electronic games, traditional bingo, electronic bingo, and other similar games of chance operating in the areas prohibited by the measure shall be given six months to relocate in places compliant to the measure, otherwise, the same shall be subjected to closure by the city government.
According to the proponents, Baguio City is envisioned to be a home of diverse and dynamic cultures, center for education, trade and tourism in harmony with nature managed by God-loving, steadfast leaders in partnership with responsible and peace-loving citizens.
By Dexter A. See