BAGUIO CITY: Mayor Mauricio Domogan has temporarily suspended the issuance of business permits to electronic bingo (e-bingo) outlets here until the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, (Pagcor) has clarified the status of its franchises.
The absence of necessary local permit makes all electronic bingo outlets in the city illegally operating, prompting uproar from groups opposing gambling.
The Baguio City government did not issue business permits for e-bingo outlets last year pending official endorsement by city council for them to secure permanent permit from Pagcor.
The local government is yet to close the electronic bingo outlets in the malls and along Marcos Highway.
The e-bingo operation at a building along Marcos Highway was put in question in 2014 after a resolution used by the operator to secure a Pagcor permit was not recorded by the city council.
The anti-gambling groups, including the Catholic Church, urged the local government to close the operation of the outlet to avert the people’s addiction to e-bingo games.
Earlier, the Baguio Multi-Sectoral Group and the Catholic Church led by Baguio– Benguet Bishop Carlito Cenzon launched a signature campaign against the e-bingo operation in the city that was forwarded to former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Domogan is also awaiting clarification from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) on the status of the operation of jai-alai used to justify the operation of jueteng in the city.
He said he received initial reports that PhilWeb, the online provider of the electronic games, has been dissolved after President Rodrigo Duterte criticized its chief executive officer Roberto Ongpin.
Meanwhile, the license of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation, which derives existence from the CEZA, is already considered to be illegal after the authority dissolved its jai-alai license.
“Pagcor and CEZA must issue the necessary advisories to all local governments on the status of PhilWeb and Meridian so that concerned local officials will be properly guided on actions to take against the corporations that are operating in their respective areas of jurisdiction,” Domogan said.