Proposed casino at SRP not covered by Duterte prohibition
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - August 22, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The P18 billion integrated resorts and casino on Cebu City’s Kawit Island is not covered by the “no new casino” policy of President Rodrigo Duterte as it has already secured a permit for casino operations even before the president made the pronouncement.


It was on August 9 that Duterte pronounced there shall be no more additional casinos in the country.


But, Francisco Fernandez, executive assistant of Mayor Tomas Osmeña, said the Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc., proponent, has secured the permit before it proposed a joint venture with the city government.

“So katong ingon ni President Duterte nga no more permits, that was after they have given the permit ining UHRI so dili covered ang UHRI ug dili maapektohan,” Fernandez said.

Last November 2017, the City Council approved the resolution endorsing the application of UHRI to develop and operate an integrated resort and casino facility on Kawit Island at the South Road Properties.

UHRI submitted the proposal on December 2017. The Cebu City’s Joint Venture-Selection Committee has not received proposals to challenge the P18 billion worth of development at SRP.

The project includes commercial or shopping center, integrated resort facility, convention center, performing arts theater, themed park and inconic public art, three hotels, parking lot, and the casino.

“Dugay na ang permits kay dugay mo-construct og building. I won’t be surprised if 25 years ilang permit to operate casinos,” Fernandez said.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella was one of the opposition-allied officials who questioned the inclusion of a casino by virtue of Duterte’s pronouncement.

“In my case, being the former ombudsman director, many of the officials committed graft and corruption because they are engaged in gambling,” Labella said.

The vice mayor said it would be better for the current administration to act on the permit applications of the giant firms that purchased a 45-hectare property at SRP.

He said these firms aim to construct a world-class sports arena that can accommodate thousands of spectators.

He believes that a sports facility is better than a casino. — JMO (FREEMAN)


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