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Pagcor’s $25-B tourism city to rise in Parañaque

By Michael Punongbayan
Friday, September 26, 2008 [ philstar.com ]

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) may now begin construction of the biggest tourism and entertainment city in the country after securing a permit from Parañaque, which is expected to rake in P1 billion yearly in tax revenue from the $25-billion project.

The facility, which is also expected to generate jobs for more than 100,000 residents, will rise on a 150-hectare property on Roxas Boulevard and Coastal Road. The area has been declared a special investment district.

Councilor Jose Enrico Golez and 14 other local legislators have declared the former reclamation area a tourism economic zone through Resolution No. 08-059.

Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. said the city government approved the project last week. Pagcor’s partner in the project is the Philippine Economic Zone Authority or PEZA.

He said the proposed tourism and entertainment city will not only generate income for the city but will also provide livelihood for its citizens.

Bernabe said a local ordinance stipulates that Parañaque residents should comprise at least 40 percent of the workforce of new establishments.

“Since this project will employ around 250,000 workers, it will mean at least 100,000 jobs for us here,” he told The STAR.

Bernabe said a Memorandum of Agreement between the city government of Parañaque and Pagcor, through Chairman Efraim Genuino, will be signed to specify and establish the roles and responsibilities of both and the PEZA.

Councilors who agreed to the grand idea of building a tourism and entertainment city in Parañaque said the project “will develop the full tourism potential” of the locality.

According to the resolution passed, the project will make use of 35 lots in a reclamation area along Manila Bay where luxury hotels with casinos, restaurants, malls, convention centers, theaters, cultural centers, museums, amusement parks, residential villages, and even an observation tower will rise.

Councilors noted that the Pagcor charter gives it the right to operate and maintain gambling, casinos, clubs, and other recreation or amusement places, sports, gaming pools, lotteries and the like whether on land or sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.

However, they said Republic Act 9487, which amends the same, provides that the operation of slot machines and other gambling paraphernalia and equipment shall not be allowed in establishments that are open and accessible to the public unless located within three-star hotels and resorts.

They added that such establishments should also be accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and authorized by the local government unit concerned.

Bernabe said “investors can now come in” and begin constructing the country’s tourism and entertainment city now that the Sangguniang Panlungsod has given Pagcor and PEZA the green light.

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