MINI-CASINO SLAMMED

 

By Miguel Raymundo

From OpinYon Laguna

 

Residents of Pacita Complex I subdivision in San Pedro City have slammed the presence of a gambling facility in their neighborhood for violating existing laws and local city ordinances.

 

The mini-casino which is located inside the Centro Pacita Commercial Center where it operates an e-bingo is the subject of a signature campaign initiated by Rev. Jose Thor Villacarlos, parish priest of the Sto. Rosario Parish.

 

Villacarlos and the homeowners are asking San Pedro City Mayor Lourdes Cataquiz to recall the business permit earlier granted to Match Point Gaming Center, the operator of the gaming joint.      

 

The petitioners charge that the presence of the e-bingo at the Centro Pacita violates both the local city zoning ordinance enacted in 2000 and Republic Act No. 979 which expressly prohibits the operation of gambling houses within 500 meters of public buildings, churches and schools.

 

Strong opposition

 

This developed as leaders of Pacita Complex’s three phases pointed out that they had been opposing the gaming facility even before the permits were issued to the same.

 

Phase 1-C Chairman Atty. Apolonio “Jun” Anota, who has resided in the area for 37 years said he along with leaders from Phases 1-B and 1-D, had already expressed their strong opposition to the gambling facility as early as March last year.

 

Harmful

 

Anota said the biggest concern of homeowners was that the e-bingo boutique could create social problems in the area especially to the young who might be tempted to gamble.

 

Anota also doubted the operators’ pitch that the establishment will cater solely to e-bingo services.

 

“We don’t believe it’s bingo only. They wouldn’t spend that much money on rental kung bingo lang ‘yan” he stressed.

 

Misled?

 

Anota noted that Sangguniang Panglungsod Secretary Atty. Anastacio Mejorada could have “erroneously” cleared the boutique in a letter dated August 1, 2017 which stated that the gaming center did not violate zoning provisions.

 

As a result of this “error,” the homeowners’ association and later, the local government of Barangay San Vicente, gave clearance for Match Point Gaming Center to proceed with their operations.

 

“Based on that [Mejorada letter], the PCHAI passed a resolution interposing no objection,” Atty. Anota stated.

 

Brgy. San Vicente chairwoman Kitten Campos objected to the gaming facility but was prevailed over by Mejorada clearance.

 

The city government of San Pedro had already called a hearing on the matter scheduled on February 22.

 

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