TUBA, Benguet – The municipal government asserted that the site of the controversial e-games or mini-casino that was previously issued a business permit is within the jurisdiction of the municipality based on the earlier settlement of the boundary dispute between the town and nearby Baguio City.
However, Mayor Florencio Bentres said local officials are still willing to dialogue with city officials relative to the controversy that cropped up relative to which local government has jurisdiction to issue business permits within the area where the electronic game station is situated, saying hat the problem could be settled through consultation among responsible neighbors.
“We will always be available to dialogue with our counterparts in the city because we believe that the jurisdiction of the area has long been settled after we agreed to the settlement of the boundary dispute between Tuba and Baguio City,” Bentres said.
Earlier, the Baguio City council passed a resolution requesting the State-owned Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (PAGCOR) to cancel the permit to operate electronic games within Secret Place because the same is within the territorial jurisdiction of the city pursuant to the tax declaration issued by the city assessor’s office that the area still belongs to the city as part of its economic zone.
Bentres explained that the area was part of the city property which was already swapped by the city government in exchange for their property within the Sto. Tomas School area and the boundary settlement was contained in the proposed revision of the century-old Baguio City Charter which was subsequently vetoed by President Benigno Simoen C. Aquino III in early 2013.
The local chief executive welcomed the decision of Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan to have the agreement subjected to court proceedings the soonest in order to effect the agreed settlement for the long standing boundary dispute.
It was learned that the operator of the electronic gaming station within Secret Place secured a certificate of no objection and the mandatory business permit from the Tuba municipal government to facilitate the approval of his application to operate the mini-casino in the said area which was protested by the city government, citing that the area is still within the jurisdiction of the city based on the tax declaration issued to the property owners in the area.
Mayor Bentres said local officials issued the resolution of no objection to the electronic gaming station because they believe that the area was already within their jurisdiction pursuant to the agreed boundary dispute settlement and considering the fact that it will contribute in generating added income for the municipal government, more employment opportunities for qualified local residents and increased sources of livelihood for their constituents.
Under the revised PAGCOR Charter, amusement operators interested to operate amusement games in certain localities must first secure the certificate of no objection from concerned local officials prior to the operation of their desired entertainment activities that are sanctioned by the gaming corporation.
He cited there is nothing wrong for both parties to sit down and intelligently discuss the matter because nieghbors must peacefully settle their problems. By Dexter A. See