M’cañang casino project promotes PH as sin, gambling capital of Asia

MANILA Bay based groups led by Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party list- Manila Bay, Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), Sagip Manila Bay Movement and Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM) today argued that the Entertainment City which Malacanang through the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) would construct on the 100-hectare reclaimed area in Manila Bay will bolster global claim that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is fast turning the metropolis of National Capital Region (NCR) as gambling mecca and sin capital of Asia.

“Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda describes the project as entertainment and not a gambling escapade for Filipinos. But he admitted there would be a huge casino to host thousands of slot machines to accommodate adults who want to gamble while leaving the non-gambling members of their families at the mercy of high end entertainers, shopping malls and avant-garde consumerism. This Palace spokesperson really deserves wholesale condemnation and rejection of the Filipino public,” said Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Malacanang presidential Spokesperson on Thursday defended the development of an Entertainment City, proposed by Pagcor. Atty. Lacierda said the idea of the Entertainment City is beyond gaming although the government is determined to develop casinos and entertainment centers in the tradition of Las Vegas where the entire family can be brought in and enjoy the amenities of a family vacation.

“This kind of thinking of Mr. Lacierda is not only cheap, it is also immoral and grossly insulting to the collective intelligence of the Filipino people. Mr. Lacierda is really a gambling addict,” the Pamalakaya official added.
The militant group has opposed the reclamation of 100-hectare of coastal areas in Manila Bay to pave way for Entertainment City and casino project of Pagcor. On the hand the group is pursuing a total halt or a 10-year moratorium of all reclamation activities in the bay due to its negative impacts on the livelihood of small fisherfolk and increasing biodiversity loss.

“A 10-year moratorium period is necessary to undertake a major study on the impact of large-scale land reclamation in Manila Bay and other areas. There are many major and minor concerns that should be addressed and this require an ample period of time. For the meantime, it would be proper for the Aquino administration to declare an across-the-country moratorium on reclamation to halt the offensive of large-scale reclamation to the people’s livelihood, social justice rights and environment. But the government wants to reclaim more lands to build more casinos and first class prostitution centers at the expense of people’s livelihood and environment.

Pamalakaya further said: Imagine a world where tens of thousands of small-scale fishermen would be dislodged from livelihood just to give way to the red carpet welcome to more than 3,000 slot machines to lure foreign and native gamblers.

“The rise of this $ 2 billion Las Vegas type gambling center will send the death certificate to all fishing activities in Manila Bay. This not the kind of development the small fisherfolk and the Filipino people are demanding from President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. We have no future under a Republic of Gamblers. We don’t want to be replaced or displaced by slot machines, gambling tables, poker chips and game cards,” said Pamalakaya.
The Pamalakaya said the mush rooming of gambling centers, high rise buildings and other commercial establishments along t he lake have greatly contributed to the loss of livelihood among small fishermen, the massive demolitions of coastal communities and the rapid degradation of Manila Bay environment over the last 50 years.
“President Aquino and officials of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and their Japanese client want to replace the fisherfolk of Manila Bay with slot machines. This is extremely immoral, anti-people and diabolical,” it said.

Pamalakaya said not less 100,000 families of fisherfolk and urban poor in Metro Manila and nearby Cavite province will be affected by the casino project. “Imagine a world where 100,000 fishing families or 600,000 people will be dislodged by 500 gaming tables, 150 high-end stores and 3,000 slot machines in the name of Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. We ask the Tiger group to leave the Philippines and Manila Bay and respect the fisherfolk rights to livelihood and their right to live in fishing communities,” the group added.

The state-owned Pagcor said the project will contribute significantly to the economy with target jobs of 400,000. The Las Vegas gambling center project will involve the development of two luxury casino hotels with 450 and 650 rooms for each. Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. is one of the four major investors in the Pagcor project that include Bloombury Investments of ports tycoon Enrique Razon, Belle Corporation in partnership with SM group and the Resorts World group of Andrew Tan controlled Alliance Global Inc.

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