Mass layoff feared with Pagcor privatization

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Friday, June 1, 2012


A SENIOR supervisor of the Bacolod Casino said on Thursday the government plans to privatize the state-owned Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and the casinos it operates nationwide that may lead to mass layoff.

"While we do not question the authority of the government to do whatever it wants with Pagcor and its casinos, we express our fear and uncertainty that such move could result to the massive termination of 500 Bacolod Casino workers and close to 10,000 nationwide," said Pamela Silva, who has been with company for almost 25 years now.

Silva said they sought clarification from Pagcor’s national management but it stayed mum on the issue.

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She, however, said the issue was confirmed after Pagcor chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr. came out with a statement in Pagcor’s online portal, stating, “Privatization of Pagcor is nothing new. There is no reason for us to worry or feel anxious because in reality our operations are already partly privatized, given the numerous joint ventures and lease agreements entered into by the previous Pagcor management with several private gaming investors for the operations of licensed casinos, VIP clubs, poker clubs, bingo clubs and other sports betting stations.”

This was also confirmed following the filing of Senate Bill 3178 in May 7 by Senator Ralph Recto.

The bill, named “An Act Creating the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Commission (PAGCOM), Authorizing the Appropriation of funds therefore, and for Other Purposes,” argued that it seeks to separate Pagcor's regulatory function from its role as the operator of gaming activities.

He said this function should not be placed under one agency in order to maintain a separation of powers and uphold a system of checks and balances.

“We don't know what may happen to us because we don't have a labor union, and I worry even more about those who have rendered less than 10 years of service,” Silva said.

Naguiat, meanwhile, said there are no offers yet from any private group on the privatization plans. (Karl G. Ombion)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 01, 2012.

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