Tag Archives: Pagcor

Manila anti-casino group sought divine intervention

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Handog Malaya Vera and Victoria Sunshine Malubarry

MANILA, Philippines- A militant alliance of small fishermen opposed to the planned construction of a Las Vegas like casino in the western portion of Manila Bay in Paranaque City on Saturday asked the influential Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to join forces with them to stop the 557 million US dollar casino-resort project in the Bagong Nayong Pilipino-Entertainment City.

In a press statement, the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) appealed to the 117 archbishops and bishops of the CBCP to coalesce with the fisherfolk and other affected people in Manila Bay in the fight of what it called the Las Vegas-nization of the country.

“We ask our archbishops and bishops to join the Manila Bay coastal people in their legit and just struggle against those evil forces who want to make this country the gambling capital of Asia to the detriment of coastal people and the bay environment,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said his group is planning to seek a dialogue with the bishops and archbishops of the CBCP anytime next week to discuss the devastating impact of the project to small fisherfolk and urban poor and its destructive effect to the already fragile Manila Bay environment.

“We will move heaven and earth to put up a strong opposition against this largest gambling project clinched during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and passed on to the new administration of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III,” added Hicap.

In a statement yesterday, Bloombury Investments Holdings Inc. which was acquired by port operatorEnrique Razon Jr. said it had broken ground for the construction of Solaire, an integrated resort complex that includes a five-star, 500-room hotel on a 165,000-square-meter land.

According to Bloombury, aside from catapulting the Philippines into becoming a key player in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries, the project will make Filipinos proud for having a world class leisure hub that will showcase the best that the country can offer. It said the entertainment city will rival leisure hubs in the region such as those in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.

The project marks Razon’s first venture into the lucrative gaming industry. Razon owns Manila-based global port giant International Container Terminal Services Inc. The Bloombury complex is expected to open by the third quarter of 2012. Total investment in the long term is expected to reach $ 1 billion.

Project proponents said aside from attracting local and foreign visitors, the complex is expected to generate some 2,500 jobs and boost the country’s ancillary service sectors.

“This is ridiculous, very, very ridiculous. Please allow us to inform the bishops that the Supreme Court ruling is clear——-Malacanang should rehabilitate Manila Bay and should not transform the bay into a gambling capital of Asia is contrary to the high court decision,” said Hicap in reference to the Dec. 2008 Supreme Court decision mandating the national government and concerned government agencies to restore Manila Bay back to its historic and proud past.

“The bishops are politically and morally obliged to confront this gambling project of the ruling Mafia in Malacanang. That is one their callings as far as the Christian faith and the people’s collective interest are concerned,” the Pamalakaya official added.

The other companies granted licenses were Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., the partnership between the Andrew L. Tan-led Alliance Global, Inc. and casino-resort operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd., SM Investments Corp. and Universal Entertainment Corp. (formerly Azure Corp.), which makes gaming machines and is a co-investor in the Wynn chain of casino hotels in Las Vegas and Macau.

“The issue of Manila Bay casino project is not only about cronyism and the despicable partnership between Arroyo and his cherished client-Mr. Razon and now Razon as de facto supporter and crony of Aquino. At stake here is the marine environment, the livelihood of 3 million people in Manila Bay and the national interest of 92 million Filipinos. Sad to say, President Arroyo sacrificed these stakes to make more money and make his crony the happiest and the luckiest guy on earth.

Pagcor president and chief operating officer Rafael Butch Francisco announced on Monday the construction at the Bay Shore Entertainment City was expected to start in the latter part of the year. Sources said the Razon’s entry into the Pagcor project came after his exit from the power transmission business. Last month, Henry Sy Jr.’s OneTaipan Holdings, Inc. bought Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. from Razon’s group for $350 million.

Pagcor said the construction is expected to start in the third quarter at an estimated cost of $400 million for the first phase. According to the state-run gambling corporation, the complex will include two five-star luxury hotel towers of over 1,000 rooms within a world-class entertainment and convention facility.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance said the construction of Manila Bay casino similar to first-ratecasinos in Las Vegas and Macau will trigger the displacement of 3 million coastal people in Metro Manila and Cavite who are still dependent to fishing as principal source of livelihood, and any move to transform or convert Manila Bay for other purposes like the $15-billion casino project will have a killing impact on the livelihood of small fishermen, aside from the fact that they would be demolished from their communities, once construction of support structures and establishments begins.

“The irrevocable desire of President Aquino and Mr. Razon to convert Manila Bay into an international gateway for big time gambling addicts both international and domestic is not only blasphemous, but also detestable and highly revolting. This government is sacrificing the future ofManila Bay fishers at the altar of corporate interest and gambling addiction of the international and domestic elites,” the Pamalakaya said.

The militant group said the construction of Manila Bay casino will also trigger reclamation of other coastal shores along Manila Bay that will result to eviction of fishing communities and coastal villagers along the bay.

Pamalakaya recalled from 1992 to 1995, the demolitions of coastal shanties became an everyday ordeal in Pasay Reclamation area. Houses were uprooted on almost day-to-day basis. Small and big time bribery to divide the communities were conducted to facilitate the demolition of homes as if the words and orders of Malacañang were the words of God in this country.

The setting up of casino and resorts, including SM’s Mall of Asia was all in the master plan of the government known as Manila Bay Master Development Plan that officially started during the time of President Ramos and projected to end between 2020 and 2025.

Pamalakaya said 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area, and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Ramos to pave way for the construction of the proposed casino that would make the Philippines the Las Vegas of Asia.#

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Fishers group asked CBCP support vs. Las Vegas like casino in Manila Bay

By Bb. Joyce Cabral

MANILA, Philippines-A militant alliance of small fishermen on Wednesday revealed a close associate and crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was given the franchise to develop portions of a reclaimed area in Roxas Boulevard to construct a Las Vegas type gambling complex in Manila Bay.

In a press statement, the activist Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Anakpawis party list on Sunday appealed to the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to join the groups’ crusade against the ambitious multi-billion casino project in Manila Bay.

“To the archbishops and bishops of the CBCP, please hear and support our appeal and prayer against this giant gambling escapade of Malacanang and its cherished cronies,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Enrique Razon Jr., head of multinational port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and a known crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has bought a gaming company that will build a casino at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino project.

“This is ridiculous, very, very ridiculous. Please allow us to inform the bishops that the Supreme Court ruling is clear——-Malacanang should rehabilitate Manila Bay and should not transform the bay into a gambling capital of Asia is contrary to the high court decision,” said Hicap in reference to the Dec. 2008 Supreme Court decision mandating the national government and concerned government agencies to restore Manila Bay back to its historic and proud past.

Hicap learned last week that Razon had acquired a controlling stake in Bloombury investment Holdings Inc from Jose Ch. Alvarez, owner of Columbian Motors Corp. The Pamalakaya leader said Alvarez sold his controlling interest in Bloombury, one of the companies tapped to develop the ambitious $ 15 billion Las Vegas casino project to be installed along the 120 reclaimed area in Manila Bay.

“The bishops are politically and morally obliged to confront this gambling project of the ruling Mafia in Malacanang. That is one their callings as far as the Christian faith and the people’s collective interest are concerned,” the Pamalakaya official added.

According to a news report, Bloombury is one of four companies granted a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to set up and operate gaming and entertainment facilities at the Bay Shore Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City project at the Manila Bay reclamation area in Parañaque.

The other companies granted licenses were Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., the partnership between the Andrew L. Tan-led Alliance Global, Inc. and casino-resort operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd., SM Investments Corp. and Universal Entertainment Corp. (formerly Azure Corp.), which makes gaming machines and is a co-investor in the Wynn chain of casino hotels in Las Vegas and Macau.

“The issue of Manila Bay casino project is not only about cronyism and the despicable partnership between Arroyo and his cherished client-Mr. Razon. At stake here is the marine environment, the livelihood of 3 million people in Manila Bay and the national interest of 92 million Filipinos. Sad to say, President Arroyo sacrificed these stakes to make more money and make his crony the happiest and the luckiest guy on earth.

Pagcor president and chief operating officer Rafael Butch Francisco announced on Monday the construction at the Bay Shore Entertainment City was expected to start in the latter part of the year. Sources said the Razon’s entry into the Pagcor project came after his exit from the power transmission business. Last month, Henry Sy Jr.’s OneTaipan Holdings, Inc. bought Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. from Razon’s group for $350 million.

Pagcor said the construction is expected to start in the third quarter at an estimated cost of $400 million for the first phase. According to the state-run gambling corporation, the complex will include two five-star luxury hotel towers of over 1,000 rooms within a world-class entertainment and convention facility.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance said the construction of Manila Bay casino similar to first-rate casinos in Las Vegas and Macau will trigger the displacement of 3 million coastal people in Metro Manila and Cavite who are still dependent to fishing as principal source of livelihood, and any move to transform or convert Manila Bay for other purposes like the $15-billion casino project will have a killing impact on the livelihood of small fishermen, aside from the fact that they would be demolished from their communities, once construction of support structures and establishments begins.

“The irrevocable desire of President Arroyo and Mr. Razon to convert Manila Bay into an international gateway for big time gambling addicts both international and domestic is not only blasphemous, but also detestable and highly revolting. This government is sacrificing the future of Manila Bay fishers at the altar of corporate interest and gambling addiction of the international and domestic elites,” the Pamalakaya said.

The militant group said the construction of Manila Bay casino will also trigger reclamation of other coastal shores along Manila Bay that will result to eviction of fishing communities and coastal villagers along the bay.

Pamalakaya recalled from 1992 to 1995, the demolitions of coastal shanties became an everyday ordeal in Pasay Reclamation area. Houses were uprooted on almost day-to-day basis. Small and big time bribery to divide the communities were conducted to facilitate the demolition of homes as if the words and orders of Malacañang were the words of God in this country.

The setting up of casino and resorts, including SM’s Mall of Asia was all in the master plan of the government known as Manila Bay Master Development Plan that officially started during the time of President Ramos and projected to end between 2020 and 2025.

Pamalakaya said 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area, and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Ramos to pave way for the construction of the proposed casino that would make the Philippines the Las Vegas of Asia.#

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Fishers slam Arroyo crony over Las Vegas casino project in Manila Bay

By Bb. Joyce Cabral, Billy Javier Reyes and Cherry de Belen

MANILA, Philippines-A militant alliance of small fishermen on Wednesday revealed a close associate and crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was given the franchise to develop portions of a reclaimed area in Roxas Boulevard to construct a Las Vegas type gambling complex in Manila Bay.

In a press statement, the activist Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Enrique Razon Jr., head of multinational port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and a known crony of President Arroyo has bought a gaming company that will build a casino at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino project.

“This is ridiculous, very, very ridiculous. The Supreme Court ruling is clear—Malacanang should rehabilitate Manila Bay and transforming the bay into a gambling capital of Asia is contrary to the high court decision,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap referring to the Dec. 2008 Supreme Court decision mandating the national government and concerned government agencies to restore Manila Bay back to its historic and proud past.

Hicap learned the other day that Razon had acquired a controlling stake in Bloombury investment Holdings Inc from Jose Ch. Alvarez, owner of Columbian Motors Corp. The Pamalakaya leader said Alvarez sold his controlling interest in Bloombury, one of the companies tapped to develop the ambitious $ 15 billion Las Vegas casino project to be installed along the 120 reclaimed area in Manila Bay.

According to a news report, Bloombury is one of four companies granted a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to set up and operate gaming and entertainment facilities at the Bay Shore Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City project at the Manila Bay reclamation area in Parañaque.

The other companies granted licenses were Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., the partnership between the Andrew L. Tan-led Alliance Global, Inc. and casino-resort operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd., SM Investments Corp. and Universal Entertainment Corp. (formerly Azure Corp.), which makes gaming machines and is a co-investor in the Wynn chain of casino hotels in Las Vegas and Macau.

“The issue of Manila Bay casino project is not only about cronyism and the despicable partnership between Arroyo and his cherished client-Mr. Razon. At stake here is the marine environment, the livelihood of 3 million people in Manila Bay and the national interest of 92 million Filipinos, and President Arroyo sacrificed these stakes to make more money and make his crony the happiest and the luckiest guy on earth.

Pagcor president and chief operating officer Rafael Butch Francisco announced on Monday the construction at the Bay Shore Entertainment City was expected to start in the latter part of the year. Sources said the Razon’s entry into the Pagcor project came after his exit from the power transmission business. Last month, Henry Sy Jr.’s OneTaipan Holdings, Inc. bought Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. from Razon’s group for $350 million.

Pagcor said the construction is expected to start in the third quarter at an estimated cost of $400 million for the first phase. According to the state-run gambling corporation, the complex will include two five-star luxury hotel towers of over 1,000 rooms within a world-class entertainment and convention facility.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance said the construction of Manila Bay casino similar to first-rate casinos in Las Vegas and Macau will trigger the displacement of 3 million coastal people in Metro Manila and Cavite who are still dependent to fishing as principal source of livelihood, and any move to transform or convert Manila Bay for other purposes like the $15-billion casino project will have a killing impact on the livelihood of small fishermen, aside from the fact that they would be demolished from their communities, once construction of support structures and establishments begins.

“The irrevocable desire of President Arroyo and Mr. Razon to convert Manila Bay into an international gateway for big time gambling addicts both international and domestic is not only blasphemous, but also detestable and highly revolting. This government is sacrificing the future of Manila Bay fishers at the altar of corporate interest and gambling addiction of the international and domestic elites,” the Pamalakaya said.

The militant group said the construction of Manila Bay casino will also trigger reclamation of other coastal shores along Manila Bay that will result to eviction of fishing communities and coastal villagers along the bay.

Pamalakaya recalled from 1992 to 1995, the demolitions of coastal shanties became an everyday ordeal in Pasay Reclamation area. Houses were uprooted on almost day-to-day basis. Small and big time bribery to divide the communities were conducted to facilitate the demolition of homes as if the words and orders of Malacañang were the words of God in this country.

The setting up of casino and resorts, including SM’s Mall of Asia was all in the master plan of the government known as Manila Bay Master Development Plan that officially started during the time of President Ramos and projected to end between 2020 and 2025.

Pamalakaya said 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area, and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Ramos to pave way for the construction of the proposed casino that would make the Philippines the Las Vegas of Asia.#

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Fishers group sees evil in Albay casino plan

Fishers group sees evil in Albay casino plan

The Lakas ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday said they see evil in the plan of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to put up a casino inside the P 1-billion commercial complex sitting on a 2.6 hectare reclaimed area in Legaspi City.

“The commercial complex is just a front literally and figuratively speaking. The giant complex is constructed to promote the culture and life of gambling and host gambling folks who want to be millionaires. We see all-time evil in this plan of the national government,” said Lambat-Bicol chairperson Salvador France in a press statement.

The complex designed by Australian engineers and patterned after the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California, USA will host other amenities such as a lifestyle mall and will house an 8,000 seat call center at its Information Technology Park.

But France, also the vice-chairperson for Luzon of Pamalakaya, said the construction of the commercial complex popularly known as Embarcadero de Legaspi in Legaspi City was constructed at the expense of the small fisherfolk and the environment.

According to France, more than 20 hectares of mangrove areas were destroyed and around 100 families of small fisherfolk were uprooted from their fishing village to give way for the reclamation of 2.6 coastal shores where Embarcadero de Legaspi is located.

“Imagine, the state-run gambling corporation compelled people to leave their fishing community and facilitated the massacre of 20 plus hectares of mangrove areas just to install this gambling center at the heart of Albay’s capital,” the Lambat-Bicol leader said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, who is also a fulltime fisherman in Albay and Sorsogon provinces said the government plan to put up a casino inside Embarcadero de Legaspi would be a major electoral issue, adding those who would support its construction will face rejection in the 2010 elections.

“The pro-Casino politicians in Albay will suffer electoral defeat in the May 2010 elections if they insist this diabolical project. This is a regional issue that will decide the outcome of next year’s elections at the provincial and district levels,” said Hicap.

To illustrate the impacts of casinos on public, Pamalakaya cited the report made by U.S. Senator Paul Simon to the U.S. Senate Committee investigating the effects of casinos on the American public. Quoting Simon’s report in the U.S. Senate in the early 1990s, the group said, “Costs to society of the problem gambler vary from the most conservative estimate of US$13,200 to US$30,000 per year.”

According to a study cited in the senator report, “Overall, the state gains US$326 million in net revenue from the presence of the casinos.

However, this figure is reduced substantially — to US$166.25 million — when even the lowest estimated social costs of compulsive gambling are included in the calculations. With mid-range estimated social costs, the overall impact becomes negligible, while with higher social-cost estimates, the impact becomes clearly negative.”

Pamalakaya further stressed the presence of casinos would attract more people to gamble as in the case of Illinois: “The Simon report points out that nationally, less than 1 percent or 0.77 percent of the population are compulsive gamblers, but when enterprises are located near a population, that number increases two to seven times.”

Pamalakaya likewise cited the findings of Donald Trump, a Miami-based financial analyst on casino about the impact of high cost gambling. Citing Trump’s report, the group said promoters of the casino often stress the benefits of introducing casino operations.

Pamalakaya said: “People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they’ll lose customer dollars to the casinos.”

According to “Legalized Gambling as a Strategy for Economic Development” authored by Vernon George, an economic consultant for the casino industry, who also provides feasibility studies for communities contemplating riverboat gambling, private developers usually exaggerate public benefits in order to make their proposals more attractive.

Pamalakaya also cited the testimony delivered by prosecuting attorney Jeffrey Bloomberg of Lawrence County, South Dakota, during a U.S. House committee hearing on his experiences dealing with Deadwood, a small community in South Dakota that became the first place outside of Atlantic City and Nevada to legalize casino gambling.

Bloomberg said host communities were promised with “economic development, new jobs and lower taxes.” Instead, casinos flourished, but other businesses did not. Based on Bloomberg’s own account, businesses that provide the basic necessities of life such as clothing are no longer available and customers of the town’s only remaining grocery store walk past a gauntlet of slot machines as they exit with their purchases. #

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Atienza told: Reject fish ban in Manila Bay or face storm of protest

Atienza told: Reject fish ban in Manila Bay or face storm of protest

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday warned Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza that he and his office will face a storm of electrifying protest from small fishermen if he approved the proposed fish ban off Manila Bay.

The proposal to ban fishing in Manila Bay came from the River Basin Control Office (RBCO), the agency coordinating water-related initiatives nationwide. RCBO executive director Dr. Vicente Tuddao Jr. said he would bring the proposal in next week’s meeting of the Manila Bay Coordinating Committee (MBCC) with Secretary Atienza.

“Not only the extreme force of nature will confront Secretary Atienza if he will approve this crazy proposal, he will meet the extreme anger and slam bang protest of the Manila Bay fishermen who will be affected by this incorrigible act,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

According to Hicap, the proposed fish ban off Manila Bay will massacre the livelihood of not less than 500,000 fishermen and their dependents. The Pamalakaya leader said the ban on all fishing activities will severely affect the livelihood of small fishermen and fish workers in all coastal towns of Cavite, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Navotas, Malabon, the coastal towns of Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan provinces.

“The fish ban is not the solution to Manila Bay’s degradation. The government and its environmental planners are conspiring to eliminate small fishermen so they could sell Manila Bay to the transnational clients of the ruling Mafia in Malacañang,” said Hicap.

According to Pamalakaya, the government will impose fish ban in Manila Bay not to rehabilitate it, but to allow and fast-track all reclamation activities in this once rich fishing ground.

The fisherfolk group said the government is eying to reclaim another 90 hectares of shallow coastal areas in Pasay City Reclamation Area for the controversial Las Vegas style casino project along Roxas Boulevard which the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) will undertake.

Pamalakaya said the government also plans to construct another casino inside the Navotas Fish Port, while in Cavite, the government will undertake a 5,000 hectare reclamation project that would cover the coastal areas of Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta and Cavite City.

“The Supreme Court ruling is clear. The national government through the DENR and other concerned agencies should bring Manila Bay back to its pristine state and glorious past as productive fishing ground. In order to do this, the government must stop all its destructive activities along the bay like reclamation, instead of enforcing this diabolical measure known as fish ban,” the militant group added.

Pamalakaya said it will ask its network of lawyers ‘groups regarding the proposal to impose fish ban and how they could challenge the measure before the Supreme Court, which December last year promulgated a decision putting to task the national government and all its attached agencies in ensuring the rehabilitation of the bay.

“The Supreme Court ruling sent marching orders to the government to conduct a comprehensive rehabilitation program. It did not say it should impose fish ban, pursue all-out reclamation and sell Manila Bay to the highest bidders,” the group added.

Manila Bay, once the country’s no.2 most productive fishing area has a surface area of about 1,800 square kilometers and a coastline of 190 kilometers connecting parts of National Capital Region to Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan. The bay has 4,600 hectares of wetlands that provide food and habitat for various species, act as reservoir for watersheds, help maintain and improve water quality in rivers and other water bodies.

Pamalakaya blamed the present and the previous governments for the destruction of mangrove areas in Manila Bay. The group said because of rampant reclamation projects in Manila Bay, its mangrove areas shrank from 54,000 hectares several decades ago, to 2,000 hectares in 1990 and further 794 hectares in 1995.

“The fisherfolk and all the Manila Bay dwellers are being blamed by the government for the sad state of Manila Bay, where in fact, it is the national government since time immemorial should be castigated and punished for privatizing and converting Manila Bay to accommodate super-profiteer clients of Malacañang from the very, very beginning,” the group added. #

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