PAGCOR may lose its licensing powers

By Robert Simmons
Lawmakers in the Philippines Parliament are debating a bill that would see the country's gaming regulator PAGCOR stripped of its licensing powers, following the Resorts World Manila incident.

The legislation would see the amendment of Republic Act 9487 to place authority to grant casino licences back in the hands of the Philippine House of Representatives and stopping PAGCOR from issuing further licences.

House of Representative majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas told local media: “By a presidential decree, the power was delegated to Pagcor to have the sole authority to authorise licenses and regulate gambling. That should not be allowed. That should only be a congressional grant of license.”

"Under the leadership of the Speaker [Pantaleon Alvarez], we will review Republic Act (RA) [Number] 9487 with the view of amending it and repealing altogether Presidential Decree (PD) Number 1869."

Senate officials also confirmed they are considering whether or not to revoke Resorts World Manila’s licence in the wake of suspected security failures which led to the killing of 37 people in the casino by a gunman last Friday.

PAGCOR confirmed that it had sent instructions ordering licensees to strengthen their security measures and to abide by ordinances on curfews and other security-related matters in the cities where casinos operate after militants from the radical Islamist Maute Group clashed with government troops in Marawi City.

Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR President told Rappler "From our assessment, there was really a lack of security in the entrance and parking lots in RWM… [There was a] lack of [an] adequate [number] of properly equipped security personnel, and this can be seen from their video that we saw."

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