Council rejects casino license moratorium
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - September 14, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan-dominated Cebu City Council has rejected the proposed resolution expressing support for the moratorium on the issuance of licenses for new casinos.

During the regular session last Tuesday, members of the council were divided on the proposed resolution of Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia who would have wanted to support the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for a “no new casino” policy.

“I can’t approve on this because I have voted on the establishment of a casino. I just want to be consistent,” Councilor Margarita Osmeña said.

Osmeña and Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos objected to the proposed casino license moratorium as they were two of councilors who favored the building of the P18-billion integrated resort and casino complex on the city’s Kawit Island at the South Road Properties.

With this objection, the members of the City Council divided the house to vote for or against the passage of the resolution of Garcia.

Nine members of the BOPK voted to reject the resolution while eight opposition members supported its approval.

In his rejected resolution, Garcia said Duterte dismissed the board members and the management of the state-run Nayong Pilipino Foundation for having entered into a “disadvantageous” contract with the Chinese casino operator Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp.

“On the heels of the dismissal of the board members and management of NPF, President Rodrigo Duterte declared that the Philippine government will stop issuing licenses for new casinos,” a portion of the junked resolution read.

Garcia said the city government has “always supported the policies of the current administration.”

It was last month when Mayor Tomas Osmeña signed the joint venture agreement with officials of the Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) for the world-class integrated resort and casino complex despite legal questions from the opposing party.

Last August 9 Duterte said there will be no more additional casinos in the country on top of the existing ones.

The mayor’s executive assistant Francisco Fernandez said UHRI has already secured the permits to operate a casino before the company proposed a joint venture with the city government.

To recall, the City Council approved the resolution favorably endorsing the application of UHRI to develop and operate an integrated resort and casino complex last November 2017. (FREEMAN)

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