BAGUIO CITY – Multi-sectoral groups in the city raised an uproar over the continuous operation of several electronic bingo outlets without the benefit of obtaining a business permit from the local government which is in violation of the provisions of the Local government code, other laws, rules and regulations.
The electronic bingo outlets that were not issued business permits by the local government include those located at the Baguio Center Mall, SM City Baguio and the one along Marcos highway as they were not issued business permits for this year due to the absence of formal endorsements from the local legislative body for them to be able to secure a permanent permit from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The concerned anti-gambling advocates called on the local government to already close the operation of the electronic bingo outlets in the different parts of the city because they are already illegally operating considering the absence of their business permits that will supposed to be legalize their operations.
It can be recalled that the operation of the Marcos highway electronic bingo outlet was questioned considering that the resolution used by the operator to secure a PAGCOR permit was never placed on record in the local legislative body thereby rendering such resolution as non-existent but the operation of the outlet still continued to date.
Considering that the resolution that purportedly endorsed the operation of the Marcos highway electronic bingo outlet was non-existent, concerned cause-oriented groups called on the local government to have the political will to close the operation of the said outlet the soonest in order to prevent more people from being addicted in playing electronic bingo games that would significantly affect their values and morals.
Based on available records in the city’s permits and licensing division, no permit was issued by the local government to the operators of the electronic bingo outlets at the Baguio Center Mall, SM City Baguio and Marcos highway, thus, the need for concerned city hall departments to already close their operations.
Earlier, the Baguio Multi-sectoral Group, a convergence of religious denominations in the city, have launched an all-out campaign against the operation of electronic bingo outlets in the different parts of the city primarily because their operations are considered to be ‘highway robbery’ of the hard earned money of people playing in the said outlets.
PAGCOR officials who appeared before previous hearings of the local council on the electronic bingo franchises issued to operators claimed that the State corporation will investigate how an unnumbered resolution endorsing the application of a certain operator was able to be used to secure the coveted franchise even if the said resolution was not a collective action of the members although their individual signatures appear on it as some councillors asserted that their signatures were forged.
However, no concrete action was heard from PAGCOR whether or not the controversial electronic bingo permit issued to a certain local operator was cancelled that prompted the local government to temporarily hold in abeyance the issuance of business permits until such time that the gaming corporation shall have issued the appropriate clarification to the status of the electronic bingo franchises issued in the city. By Dexter A. See