The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) on Wednesday appealed to the government to allow casinos and other legitimate gambling establishments in Metro Manila so that the agency can continue to help the sick.
At a media forum, PAGCOR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrea Domingo said he has already asked the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to have a partial operation, specifically in Entertainment City where more than 90 percent of the agency’s revenue comes from.
“Kaya nag-appeal kami kung puwede kaming mag-partial operation kasi ’yon ngang sa Universal Health Care. I really feel very bad kasi biro mo before, 2019, 2 years ago, nakaka-contribute na kami ng P18 billion. Kung hindi nag-pandemic, ang makaka-contribute kami ng P50 billion sa national treasury at 50 percent no’n sa UHC,” said Domingo.
“Ang nangyari, siyempre nagpandemic, nagsara, P8 billion lang ang (na-contribute namin) nitong 2020. Pero ngayon kasing 2021, ‘pag hindi nag-improve, hindi kami aabot ng P5 billion. ’Pag nangyari ’yon, siyempre apektado ang health service at healthcare ng buong bansa,” she added.
She said among those given financial assistance by PAGCOR are those treated for chronic diseases, such as cancer and kidney disease, and policemen and soldiers who have been injured.
PAGCOR appeals to allow casinos, other gambling establishments to operate
According to Domingo, PAGCOR’s budget for financial assistance this year is only P2 million per month.
“For me, I feel guilty that I will not do anything if I do not respond to what I am seeing: the financials, the depletion and manpower, the loss of jobs and the effects of this on the national health. So, talagang nangungulit ako,” said Domingo.
According to Domingo, PAGCOR’s gaming revenues fell to P30 billion in 2020 from P80 billion in 2019.
Domingo expects that revenue will not increase to P17 billion in 2021 if the closure of large casinos in Metro Manila continues.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the new community quarantine classification in Metro Manila and 4 neighboring provinces this Wednesday night, which are currently in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).