March 3, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has thumbed down the establishment and operation of bingo games in Baguio.

Magalong did not sign the city council resolutions approving the request of RCC Global Entertainment, Inc. President Romeo Chong to be allowed to establish and operate traditional and e-bingo and other games sanctioned by the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. at Summer Pines Residences along Marcos Highway and at Cedar Peak along Mabini St.

“I shall not be affixing my signature to the resolutions as I find that the industry or the activity relative to the operations of these establishments is of such nature that requires prior public consultation,” Magalong stated in his April 21 letter to the city council through Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan.

The city council has consented to the request of RCC Global to establish and operate bingo in the city through Resolutions 208 and 209 passed during their session on April 19.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda has objected to the passage of the resolution of no objection, saying RCC Entertainment lacked the documents to serve as basis by the council in consenting to the request.

Councilor Benny Bomogao, who moved that the council agree to RCC’s request, said the resolution of no objection from the council is only an initial document needed by the company for it to process the other requirements by Pagcor.

Tabanda said the council usually requires applicants of such businesses to submit other documents, such as certification from the City Planning and Development Office that the site is suitable for the purpose and a document from Pagcor proving that RCC Global is indeed sanctioned to operate traditional and e-bingo.

“There are no documents attached to the letter. In this kind of requests, we always require the applicant to submit other documents before we act. Why are we now approving the request based only on the letter?” Tabanda said.

She suggested RCC Global’s request should first be referred to a committee, a move shared by councilors Phillian Allan and Mylen Yaranon, but the same lost when the vote for the passage of a resolution of no objection won over those who voted against.

Bomogao said RCC Global has four existing operations in Baguio, including the bingo games operated at the Maharlika Livelihood Complex, which are all sanctioned by Pagcor.

The resolution of no objection was passed with the condition, as manifested by Bomogao, that RCC Global secures all permits from the city government and other regulating agencies and 90 percent of the company’s personnel should be bonafide residents of Baguio.

Olowan has suggested the council passes an ordinance imposing a moratorium on the operations of bingo in Baguio, but Councilor Joel Alangsab said it is Pagcor that regulates bingo operations.

“If Pagcor sanctions the bingo operations, can the city say no?” Alangsab said.

Bomogao has recommended for the passage of a resolution asking Pacgor to impose a moratorium on new bingo operations in Baguio, but Tabanda said there is no need for those requests.

“There is no need for that because we already approved the request of RCC Global. Why are we trying to cure (this action)? If we really want a moratorium, then we should not have approved the request of RCC Global in the first place,” Tabanda said.

Those who voted against the request of RCC Global to operate bingo at Marcos Highway and Mabini St. were Tabanda, Yaranon, Allan, Isabelo Cosalan, and Levy Lloyd Orcales.

Those who voted in favor of the request were Bomogao, Joel Alangsab, Vladimir Cayabas, Michael Lawana, Arthur Allad-iw, Lilia Fariñas, Fred Bagbagen, Francisco Roberto Ortega, and Elaine Sembrano. – Jane B. Cadalig