LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Local officials in this capital town are now at odds following their conflicting positions over the proposed operations of electronic bingo games in various parts of the municipality.
Mayor Edna C. Tabanda cited she will deny the request of Cabahug Enterprises, the supposed e-bingo operator, for a certificate of no objection from the municipal government even if the Liga ng mga Barangay passed a similar resolution because there was no actual municipal wide consultation that was conducted for the purpose of gathering the real sentiments of the local residents on the e-bingo operation.
She disclosed various sectors such as the academe, religious, youth, women and other concerned sectors were not actually consulted on the matter and the signatories to the only consultation conducted by the e-bingo operator was also questionable because there were those who signed the endorsement who are from La Union and not bonafide residents of the municipality.
“We have not yet changed our stand from the start and our constituents know that we have been against gambling whether legal or not because the ordinary citizens are the ones who will be directly affected once we allow illegal or legal gambling to proliferate in our locality,” Tabanda stressed.
The local chief executive disclosed she is also conducting her own consultations with the various sectors of the municipality and most of the bonafide residents of the locality are vehemently against the e-bingo operations being proposed under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
It was learned that the municipal council also passed a resolution interposing no objection to the operation of e-bingo in the municipality when Mayor Tabanda was out of the country to attend to her official functions abroad.
However, she cited there is no compelling reason why she would issue the certificate of no objection because the operator was not able to comply with the requirement of municipal wide consultations and that the morality issue is her primordial consideration over and above the income to be derived from such proposal.
According to her, the local government is also awaiting the position papers of the different sectors on the proposed e-bingo operations that is why she finds no need to rush tings relative to the controversial issue because legal or illegal gambling has been contrary to her conviction as a public official looking after the welfare of the greater majority of the populace.
Tabanda emphasized instead of bringing gambling closer to the local residents, it should be the role of the municipality to move residents away from being involved in gambling operations so that they will be compelled to be actively involved in productive activities that will help them earn sufficient income to uplift the living conditions of their families.
Mayor Tabanda appealed to local residents not to patronize legal or illegal forms of gambling that continue to proliferate in the town in order to make the business not profitable so that operators will leave the locality voluntarily once they see that no one is interested to patronize their respective operations.
By Dexter A. See