We’ve received numerous complaints from outraged parents and youth advocates after finding out from this column about the proliferation of “online casinos” near schools all over the country.
To see for themselves if there is veracity to the report, alarmed parents even grouped themselves to check out the existence of the so-called “e-Games.”
They could not believe what they saw when some parents caught their own kids playing card and slot machine games online.
In reaction the complaints that reached his office, Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo vowed to introduce a House Resolution calling for the review of applicable laws on online gambling, as hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have been addicted to online gambling.
Quimbo is a member of the House committee on games and amusement.
Now a multi-billion peso business, e-Games is operated by the group called PhilWeb, which is licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
PAGCOR is, of course, the government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) mandated to regulate casino gambling operations in the entire archipelago, with the exception of those in the Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA).
Needless to say, PAGCOR’s mission in licensing companies like PhilWeb is to generate revenues supposedly to support “nation-building” programs.
PhilWeb president Dennis Valdez proudly projects that online casinos are bound to “overtake local casinos,” referring to the luxurious casinos at hotel resorts.
The current 299 e-Game’s cafes are similar to internet cafes, except for the fact that they are equipped with a series of terminals where customers can log in and get to taste “world-class gaming experience.”
Just like the PAGCOR casinos at hotels, e-Games offer over 300 casino games including baccarat, blackjack, slot games, video poker, and other specialty games in over 8,000 terminals, most of which are located in the Metro Manila area, while the others are distributed in Luzon and Visayas.
Guised as “amusement” or “entertainment” centers, these online casino joints are open for business round the clock.
Parents, teachers, youth advocates and church groups are not convinced that PhilWeb’s operation is in line with “nation-building” at all, owing to the fact that many of its e-Games sites are near public and private high schools, colleges and universities.
Archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz questioned the “value system” of Noynoy himself for capitalizing and expanding the previous administration’s casino gambling program.
In Metro Manila, I received complaints about e-Games being operated near schools at Kalaw Street, near Araullo High School, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Santa Isabel College, Philippine Normal University, Technological University of the Philippines, and Adamson University.
Such e-games were also reportedly present in P. Guevarra St., in Blumentritt, Manila near Quezon High School; España and Blumentritt, Sampaloc, Manila near Legarda and Dr. Albert Elementary Schools; and Don Pedro Street near De La Salle-Benilde in Singalong, Manila.
So does this mean that e-Games near the schools are legal since PAGCOR issued them permits?
Absolutely NOT!!! Since when did we allow gambling activities near our schools?
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NOY’S CRONY MAYOR, ALSO A P2B CONTRACTOR
We are verifying reports reaching my office that Mayor Joseph Salvador Tan of Santiago City, Isabela province still “owns” Brostan Construction Corporation, which has left unfinished public works projects for 382 barangays in Laguna province.
Laguna Gov. Ramil Hernandez admitted that over P300 million have been paid to Brostan for completed projects in 292 barangays, saying that the rest of the P2 billion clustered “farm-to-market road projects” have been put on hold.
Needless to say, we are intrigued by the continued involvement of Tan or his company in a gargantuan contract like this under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Clearly, questionable circumstances surround the said P2 billion contract with a company owned and operated by an elected official, who happens to be a close Liberal Party (LP) ally of President Noynoy.
We would surely welcome Tan’s statement or explanation in connection with this issue.
I would like to know how good this contractor engineer-turned mayor in building “farm-to-market roads” in non-agricultural areas.
So much for “matuwid na daan!”
And, all these surfaced after I received information that “Brostan” has been paid for a P300 million asphalt overlay project in Laguna in 2013 under the administration of ousted Gov. E.R. Ejercito.
My source said Brostan was first paid the P45 million mobilization fund, which is allowed by law.
But for unexplained reasons, Brostan has yet to start the construction two years after winning the bidding for the project.