^

Casino eyed for Army and Navy Club

Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) is reportedly planning to open a casino at the historic Army and Navy Club, which is being transformed into a boutique hotel.

An insider, who asked not to be identified, said the government-run firm is set to start operating the casino in January 2017.

“When will they ever stop destroying our heritage sites?” the source said.

PAGCOR vice president for communications Maricar Bautista was unavailable for comment.

The Army and Navy Club building is owned by the city government of Manila, based on documents provided by the source.

The city government reportedly leased the property to Oceanville Hotel and Spa Corp., which in turn sub-leased it to Vanderwood Management Corp., which then leased part of the same property to PAGCOR.

‘Anomalous’ deal

According to the insider, this series of transactions is “anomalous” because if PAGCOR wanted to occupy the Army and Navy Club, “it could have gone directly to (the) Manila (city government) instead of dealing with private entities which, to begin with, are not even owners of the property.”

Under the government procurement law, Republic Act 9184, only the absolute owner of a property may lease it to the government.

The source said there are doubts on whether Vanderwood can undertake the project since it is a new company and has never been involved in multi-billion government projects.    

PAGCOR’s notice of award to Vanderwood “seems to have been deliberately concealed from the public. It does not appear to have been published. It was not posted on PAGCOR’s website,” the source said.    

The insider said the notice of award, in which PAGCOR accepted the deal to lease part of the building from Vanderwood for 15 years on March 31, was reportedly issued without a public bidding.

Under RA 9184, public bidding is required in all procurement activities conducted by the government.

Violating heritage law

The source said converting the Army and Navy Club into a boutique hotel and casino gaming facility “violates the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.”

The Army and Navy Club was considered the first American social club in the Philippines. As “a living monument of Filipino-American friendship and cooperation,” the Army and Navy Club was declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as a national historical landmark in 1991.

Another source said there is also a proposed plan to extend the casino operations to Museo Pambata, which is housed in the former Elks Club building, another national historical landmark.

ACIRC ARMY AND NAVY CLUB CLUB ELKS CLUB GOVERNMENT MARICAR BAUTISTA MUSEO PAMBATA NATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE ACT NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF THE PHILIPPINES NBSP VANDERWOOD
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with