TUBA, Benguet October 14 – The municipal government will respect the decision of the State-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) whether or not to give due course to the complaint of the Baguio City government and subsequently cancel the franchise it issued for the operation of electronic games within the jurisdiction of the city government.
Mayor Florencio Bentres said the decision on whether or not to cancel the permit issued to the electronic games operator is lodged with the PAGCOR, thus, it has the discretion to continue the operation of the electronic games or cancel the same.
“We will leave the matter to the decision of PAGCOR authorities. The area where the electronic games is played is within the jurisdiction of the municipality,” Bentres stressed.
The local chief executive pointed out for the past five years, the business establishment that hosts the electronic games and other similarly situated businesses along a portion of Marcos highway pay their business taxes and secure their business permits from the municipal government and not from the city government.
Earlier, the city government claimed that the area where the electronic games is situated is still within the jurisdiction of the city because the property owner pays the real property taxes with the city treasury office.
The local government, through a resolution, requested the PAGCOR to cancel the permit it issued to the electronic games operator because it was reportedly waywardly issued to the detriment of the city, citing that even the barangay council of Sto. Tomas Central has been vouching that the area where the building is located is within its jurisdiction.
The city resolution alleged the contested area is still within the economic area of the city, thus, it is the city government that is vested with the authority to issue the pertinent business permits and for the operator to pay taxes to the city government.
Bentres cited the municipal government welcomes any decision of the city government to initiate the conduct of a dialogue between concerned municipal and city officials for them to be able to settle the problem considering that there is a need for both parties to clarify their respective positions relative to the question where the operator of the electronic games should secure the mandatory business permit and where it will pay its taxes.
At the same time, the municipal mayor explained the local government respects the decision of the Diocese of Baguio and Benguet to vehemently oppose the operation of electronic games within its jurisdiction, citing that regulated electronic games, especially by concerned government agencies, should be allowed to operate because part of their proceeds will be used to help in the delivery of basic health services to the grassroots level among other important projects of the government beneficial to the upliftment of the greater majority of the populace.