BAGUIO CITY – Operators of the traditional and electronic bingo outlets operating in the different parts of the city snubbed the public hearing organized by the City Council purposely to get the sentiments of the concerned sectors regarding the proliferation of gambling joints in the city.
Representatives of the Bingo Palace Corporation, Highland Gaming Corporation, the operator of the electronic bingo outlet in the Maharlika Livelihood Center and the operator of the electronic and traditional bingo outlet along Marcos highway did not appear at the Wednesday public hearing to prove the legitimacy of their operation amidst the vehement opposition of anti-gambling advocates to these operations in strategic areas in the city.
Officials of the Albergo Hotel which is being eyed as the venue for an electronic and traditional bingo outlet by the Bingo Palace Corporation denied having agreed to host the operation of the gambling joint, saying that they were not aware that their establishment was proposed as a site for the electronic bingo site.
It will be recalled that the City Council approved Resolutions No. 176 and 176-A expressing the local government’s no objection to the operation of an electronic and traditional bingo outlet by the Bingo Palace Corporation at the Albergo Hotel and the operation of the electronic and traditional bingo outlets by the Highland Gaming Corporation at the Baguio Center Mall and SM City Baguio, respectively.
Members of various religious groups led by the Baguio-Benguet Ecumenical Group reiterated their vehement opposition to the local government’s no objection to the operation of the electronic and traditional bingo outlets in the city because it was allegedly railroaded having been inserted as part of the regular agenda last May 22, 2017 instead of passing through the usual process of being officially calendared for deliberation.
Earlier, the local legislative body agreed to organize its members as the committee of the whole to tackle the proposed resolution of Councilor Maria Mylen Victoria G. Yaranon for the revocation of Resolution Nos. 176 and 176-A that allowed the continuous operation of electronic and traditional bingo outlets in the different parts of the city considering that the areas where the said bingo outlets are located violate the guidelines prescribed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) which required such outlets must be at least 200 meters away from schools, churches and public markets.
Yaranon’s proposed resolution will be scheduled for discussion by the local legislative body after Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano formulates the committee report on the outcome of the public hearing for the possible reversal of the previous actions of the council.
The previous councils were able to pass various resolutions stating the local government’s anti-gambling policy to help sustain the identity of the city as a Character City but various forms of illegal and legal gambling joints continue to exist using the fund-raising mandate of barangays to cover up for such gambling operations.
By Dexter A. See