A top executive of the Resorts World Manila (RWM) has asked the government to allow it to operate again after the country’s gaming regulator suspended its license following the attack on the casino-hotel that killed 37 people. The lone gunman burned himself to death after.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has ordered RWM to “cease and desist all gaming operations while investigation on its liability regarding the June 2 incident is ongoing”.
At the same time, David Chua Ming Huat, Chairman of the Board Traveller’s Hotel Group, Inc., which owns Resorts World, assured the public that there would be no repeat of the incident.
“This [RWM incident] is a tragic wake up call not just for us. We hope that through the assistance of Congress and other government agencies, we can start the painful and difficult task of rebuilding as it is also our task to take care of our 6,000 personnel,” said Chua at the resumption of the inquiry on the tragedy at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Chua asked lawmakers to consider RWM’s contribution to the Philippines such as:
* his $1.3 billion investment for RWM;
* $1.1. billion investment for Resorts World Westside City;
* 1,934 hotel rooms;
* 1,620 hotel rooms still in the pipeline;
* the Marriott Grand Ballroom which is the largest ballroom in the country—a facility, Chua claimed, that boosted the country’s position as a global destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and events tourism;
* P40 billion in license fees and other taxes;
* 25,000 direct and indirect jobs created and 6,000 staff employed since 2008; and
* P1 billion investment for constructing school buildings, computer laboratories, barracks for the Philippine Military Academy cadets thru the RWM foundation.
Chua also condoled with the families who lost their loved ones in the attack.
“Allow me to express our deepest sympathies to the families of those who perished and were injured. I would like to assure you that the safety and security are key priorities of Resorts World Manila, an international brand owned by global conglomerates and benchmarked against international standards,” Chua, who is based in Hong Kong, told lawmakers.
“As such, we will never compromise safety and security because it will impact on our stakeholders,” Chua added.
Based on the testimony of RWM Chief of Security Armeen Gomez, the RWM was not equipped in dealing with simultaneous emergencies such as what happened on June 2 when Jessie Carlos, described as a gambling addict, attacked the casino area of RWM, firing indiscriminately and setting fire to the gaming tables, causing heavy smoke that suffocated guests, patrons and employees who were trapped in the room.