BAGUIO CITY May 05 – The city council summoned officials of the State-owned Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to appear before the local legislative body on May 25, 2015 to explain the procedures on the issuance of permits authorizing individuals and companies to operate amusement outlets in the different parts of the country even without the consent of the local government unit concerned.
The demand of the council for PAGCOR officials to appear before them came after it was found out that the electronic bingo activities inside SM City Baguio and the Baguio Center Mall are still operating without the consent of the city government while there are two pending e-bingo applications that were bypassed by the local legislative body in favour of the approved application of a certain Mr. Rafael Tabora to operate his own e-bingo outlet along Marcos highway.
The council required PAGCOR officials to bring with them all the pertinent documents in relation to the e-bingo permit application of Mr. Tabora for further scrutiny and the basis why it was issued an authority to operate his e-bingo outlet even without the consent of the local government last year up to the present.
Some councillors want to prove that Mr. Tabora purportedly used the controversial numbered council resolution dated 25 March 2014 which was signed by nine members of the city council to secure the initial authority to operate his electronic bingo outlet along Marcos highway even if the said resolution was not formally acted upon by the members of the local legislative body.
Under the new PAGCOR Charter, individuals and companies wanting to operate amusement centers in the different parts of the archipelago must first secure the consent of the local government concerned through a certificate of no objection prior to the operation of their amusement games.
The e-bingo controversy erupted after local media uncovered the existence of an unnumbered resolution signed by nine members of the city council interposing no objection to the application of Mr. Tabora to operate his e-bingo outlet along Marcos highway which was never calendared for deliberation with the city council but was used by the applicant to secretly secure the PAGCOR authority to operate the amusement game station for over a year now.
It was learned that majority of the council members rushed the approval of their resolution dated 09 March 2015 interposing no objection to Mr. Tabora’s application for electronic bingo permit considering that the permit issued to him already expired to allow him to justify his continued operations.
The council had been passing pieces of legislation over the past several decades expressing the city government’s firm stand against the operation of all forms of gambling in the different parts of the city and that its latest action approving the e-bingo application of Mr. Tabora is a clear deviation from such policy and will open the floodgates for increased applications seeking council endorsements for e-bingo operations citywide.
Some councillors also reasoned out e-bingo is similar to traditional bingo that is why the approval of Mr. Tabora’s request for e-bingo application is above board considering that the council earlier approved the operation of traditional bingo. By Dexter A. See