News and UpdatesIn the NewsCasino proposal causes stir

Casino proposal causes stir


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A request from a company for a Resolution of No-Objection from the City Council of Dumaguete has caused a stir among Dumaguitnons.

An official of the company, Estela Bianca Picardal, said to be the corporate secretary, sent a letter to the Sangguniang Panlunsod with an endorsement by City Legal Officer Manuel Arbon.

Picardal said the request for a Resolution of No-Objection would be for their application for a full-scale casino to be established with the Philippine Amusements & Gaming Corp. at Brooke’s Place in barangay Batinguel.

As of Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission website indicated that the name “Southern Lights Gaming Corp.” could not be found in their records.

News of their request that was scheduled in the agenda of the City Council was immediately plastered on social media, with strong positions from netizens representing various sectors opposing the granting of the request.

When the matter was brought up before the City Council last Friday, Councilor Karissa Tolentino-Maxino asked if Dumaguete was ready for a casino.

She recalled that at the height of the controversy surrounding the proposal for a 174-hectare reclamation project, several of those who objected had expressed fears that casinos will be built on the proposed reclamation site.

“I’m afraid this will result in rampant gambling in Dumaguete, and people will flock to Dumaguete — although that will give us revenues — but possible crimes and disruption of public safety and order may also result from such a [gambling] business,” Maxino lamented.

For his part, Councilor TonyRems Remollo said that in the past, the City approved several gaming franchises, and they also had to pass a Resolution of No-Objection.

He then proposed that the request be referred to the committee level of the Committee on Public Utilities, Gaming and Franchises, chaired by Councilor Tincho Perdices, for a hearing.

Councilor Franklin Esmena, meanwhile, said the request for No-Objection has its pros and cons. On one hand, this is an opportunity to provide revenues [to the City], but the community should be heard, he said.

Councilor Jovencio Tan, who represents the Association of Barangay Councils, said it would be hypocritical to automatically turn down the request of the casino operator when informal cockfights, locally known as tigbakay, are held in practically all barangays of the City.

Councilor Perdices agreed to the suggestion for his Committee to discuss the request, but said he is inviting all members of the Council to attend the meetings of the Committee as well, so they could come up with a reasonable, fair,and just decision on the request of Southern Lights Gaming Corp.

“This will take a while for us to come up with a decision. I know this will not be concluded after one committee meeting. Every single question with regard to fears of gambling, benefits of a casino to a City, problems that may arise — a lot of questions will come to light especially from vigilant citizens of Dumaguete. All questions must be heard and answered,” he said.

Perdices added it is but fair to the Applicant that we hear them out in the Committee level or in the other fora.

“I don’t believe we can come up with a negative decision without a proper answer as to why we will not grant the Resolution of No-Objection. It has to go through the proper process.

They claim to be a home-grown Corporation. I’d like to find out who are the incorporators, if they are Dumaguetenos, or from out of town, or from out of the country.”

“If this is home-grown, then it is a plus factor simply because only a Dumagueteño can feel for another Dumagueteño,” he said. (AP)



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