MisOr town council OKs casino opening

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/08:33:15am 01/07/2022


Residents walk past a building where the Grand Imperial Casino is located in Barangay Taboc, Opol town, Misamis Oriental. (Jigger Jerusalem)

By Jigger Jerusalem
Associate Editor

EVEN before the controversial casino has started its operation in Opol, Misamis Oriental, late last year, the town’s municipal council has passed a resolution signifying its acceptance to the gambling facility four years ago, a local official said Thursday, Jan. 6.

As early as 2017, the Opol municipal council has passed resolution 2017-133 essentially expressing no objection to the establishment of the casino in said town, said Mayor Maximino Seno.

He said the Phil. Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has asked for the resolution of no objection (RONO), which the municipal government has granted on July 10, 2017.

“PAGCOR asked for RONO, which we gave them, and after that they started looking for a lot. It took them four years to establish it,” Seno said, referring to the Grand Imperial casino, which is being operated by Robinsons Retail Holding Inc. owned by the Gokongweis.

Grand Imperial is located in Barangay Taboc, Opol. It was reported to have opened its doors to clients on Dec. 19, 2021.

“Whereas, by opening doors to proposals for amusement and gaming facilities will enhance undoubtedly the potentials increasing revenue collections an employment generation through a vibrant tourism industry,” read a part of the municipal resolution signed by Edward Yasay, secretary to the Sangguniang Bayan; Danilo Daroy, acting vice-mayor and temporary presiding officer; and Seno.

Seno said he is “glad” that PAGCOR chose Opol as the casino site, adding that the casino is in line with the tourism program of the provincial government.

“This is in line with the mission to propel the local economy through tourism… one of which is the amusement establishments such as casinos,” the mayor said.

He said the Gokongwei-owned company is looking for a bigger property to build a hotel with other amenities like restaurants and gaming venues.

It can be recalled that Archbishop Jose Cabantan, the head of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, has issued a pastoral letter expressing his opposition to the casino.

Cabantan has feared that the entry of a casino in the archdiocese would degrade the people’s moral values.

“We are up against corruption at all levels. Allowing this new form of gambling results to another form of corruption – the corruption of family values which are inherently gospel values,” he said.

Whatever economic development or revenues may be derived from the casino’s operations, at the cost of the destruction of families, Cabantan said, “will never be justifiable.”

“The country has enough of these anti-social factors. We do not need another way of gambling or one that promotes a culture of gambling… We denounced the proliferation of online gambling such as the ‘online sabong’ and all others,” he said.


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