Malaysia’s Genting to build Singapore’s second casino

SPYBIZ - S.A. Maguire () - December 14, 2006 - 12:00am
While the decision to extend the franchise of the country’s gaming agency Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) continues to languish in the cellar, so-called "nanny state" Singapore is quickly throwing its hat in the billion dollar industry, with Malaysia’s Genting group successfully winning the bid to build a $3.3-billion casino/entertainment resort complex in Sentosa. This was the second casino license issued by the Singapore government, with the first one awarded to the Las Vegas Sands group earlier this year. The 49-hectare casino project on the resort island of Sentosa attracted bids from major gaming firms Eighth Wonder and Kerzner. But Genting Bhd., which worked with global PR firm Weber Shandwick Worldwide for an astute communications campaign, trumped the other bidders and came out the winner. Early on, the Malaysian consortium was tagged a favorite reportedly because of its exclusive tie-up with Steven Spielberg and theme parks developer Universal Studios, whose plans include movie-based roller-coaster rides within the entertainment resort complex.
Closer to the world through distance learning
It’s been almost three years since Executive Order 266 established the Distance Learning Program (DLP) that would make education more accessible to remote areas through alternative means. However, recent results on the National Achievement Tests reveal the still sorry state of education in the country. Rural areas, though, surprisingly outperformed their urban counterparts, topping the tests in Math, Science, English, Hekasi and Filipino. DepEd has come up with the GILAS (Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students) project which seeks to provide Internet connectivity for public high schools all over the country and this is laudable, but much more definitely needs to be done to bring education down to the remotest of barangays, especially at the elementary level. The vision of the DLP is brilliant, but considering the work entailed, it would be difficult to implement, said Arsenio Ng, CEO of Transpacific Broadband Group which has established linkages with close to 200 Catholic schools nationwide. "Our company can make this vision a reality. Equipping the less advantaged communities by linking them to the rest of the world via the Internet will help the youth become globally competitive, something which we in TBGI recognize as an important step forward for the country," Ng stressed. The PSE-listed company owns and operates facilities that have enabled them to provide Internet access to these schools and parishes through its partnership with the CBCP, and its successful template could be replicated in other areas.
Nickels and dimes
Malls and stores are clogging up with frenetic shoppers trying to beat the holiday season rush. Shoppers, however, are complaining about cashiers who intentionally don’t give the customers’ change in centavos. Most of these cashiers have to wait for the customer to demand the exact change before they comply, while some deliberately refuse to give the small change saying they do not have coins. Customers should definitely insist on getting the exact change because put together, these nickels and dimes can become substantial amounts, with either just the cashiers pocketing the money or with the full knowledge of the store owners.
Priceless heirloom jewelry
Spybiz received unconfirmed stories about a brewing controversy among the children of the late Vicky Quirino-Delgado by her first husband Luis "Chito" Gonzalez. Mrs. Delgado suddenly died of pneumonia last Nov. 29 while visiting a granddaughter in Amsterdam. The reports said one of Mrs. Delgado’s children apparently tried to get hold of a safe deposit box believed to contain priceless jewelry inherited by Mrs. Delgado from her late mother Alicia Syquia, the wife of former President Elpidio Quirino. It can be recalled that Vicky Quirino-Delgado was known as the "Teenage First Lady" because she had to take on the role of First Lady since her father was already a widower when he became President of the Philippines. This priceless family heirloom is believed to have special historical value.
Spybiz feedback: Still married
Antonio "Tony Boy" Escalante sent a message to Spybiz in response to a column item titled "Still popular" (Dec. 12 issue). Escalante, who has been the chef-owner since Antonio’s restaurant first opened some four years ago, clarified that he is "still married and that our Tagaytay property where the restaurant is (located), is a result of hard work and perseverance and not inherited from the Hechanova family." Escalante also reassured guests that he will personally cater to their needs, and will continue to offer them quality food and service that Antonio’s is known for.
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