Limketkai to house casino, Church opposes

THE Limketkai Sons Inc. is planning to put up a casino within its commercial complex in Cagayan de Oro City but the plan will not be supported by the Church.

In its letter sent to the City Council on January 16, the company said the casino will occupy the whole second floor of its Lifestyle Podium building which is under construction and is projected to be completed by January 2018.

While city officials have yet to discuss the proposal of Limketkai, church groups have already weighed in on its effect to the community in the city.

Limketkai has expressed their “desire to contribute to the promotion of the City of Cagayan de Oro as a tourist destination for rest, recreation, and entertainment.”

Our company is applying for a franchise to establish and operate a casino in Limketkai Center, the company’s letter noted.

Monsignor Rey Monsanto of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro said the Roman Catholic Church has always expressed opposition on small-scale gambling, even more on high-stake gambling like in a casino operation.

Monsanto questioned the location where the casino will be built, which is he said “in the heart of the city.”

“Dili dapat ibutang sa (It should not be placed in the) heart of the city, nakapuyo ko sa America, Europe, wala man sa center of the city ang casino, sa America, toa ra intawon sa Nevada, layo pa kaayo kini, bukid pa nga area. For tourists man kaha kini nga casino, so pwede ra sa halayong dapit ibutang ug dili sa atong dakbayan (I once lived in America, Europe, the casino in America wasn’t in the center in the city but in Nevada, it was far and it was in a rural area. If the casino is for the tourist, then it’s alright to placed it in a distant area and not in the city),” Monsanto said.

The proposed space will cover 5,377.22 square meters which will connect to its posh hotel, Limketkai Luxe Hotel.

In its letter, Limketkai is asking a resolution from the City Council, “expressing support and no objection to the project.”

Monsanto said although the Archdiocese has yet to release its official statement, he said that the plan will not be supported by the church.

He added if this plan pushes through, the church might remove the chapel and cancel the Holy Mass in Limketkai Center.

He also questioned if building the casino is the only thing they can contribute to promote tourism in the city.

“Ulaw kaayo siya kay ang ingon sa uban (It’s embarrassing since the others said) we want to build a casino to attract tourists in the city, mao ra gyud lugar ni ang ika-offer sa city sa tourism? Makauwaw sa Cagayan de Oro (is that the only thing the city can offer for the tourism? It’s a shame for Cagayan de Oro),” he said.

Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang said building a casino is a social menace and could destroy relationships and destroy the moral fabric of each person.

“It's a social menace, maguba siya sa family kay kung ma-addicted na ang tao sa sugal, natural iyahang resources ma-focus na sa sugal, kawat pud apil na (it can destroy families. If a person became addicted to gambling, it’s natural that their resources is from gambling and it can tempt the person to steal),” Calang said.

He added it is against the poor, saying that people in Macau were in the middle of hardship due to gambling and the church was having trouble facing the impact of the casino to the poor.

Committee on Trade and Commerce Chairman George Goking said the proposal still has a long way to go.

He said before the council decides with this matter, public hearings which will include all sectors, will be conducted to hear each side and weigh the pros and cons.

Goking assured that the public sentiment will be heard.

A committee meeting will be conducted next Friday, February 17, by the committee on games and amusements chaired by City Councilor Zaldy Ocon wherein individuals from the Church and the academe are invited.


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