OVERHAUL

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants a massive cancellation of existing franchises for casinos, lotto, mining and transportation companies as part of a bill that will reassert Congress’ power to issue franchises for public utilitlies.

This after an 11 hour joint committee investigation of the House Committees on Tourism, Games and Amusement and Public Order and Safety on the Resorts World Manila Incident that shed light on security and regulatory lapses in the casino that was terrorized and torched by a lone gunman last week.

Alvarez says he will soon file a bill that will remove the powers of the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board to issue franchises and permits for casinos, lotto and small town lottery, mining companies and pubic utility vehicle franchises respectively and transfer these back to Congress. “ganito yan meron kaming bill na ifafile na yung PAGCOR unang una palitan natin ng pangalan Philippine Games and Amusement Authority na kung saan yung function nila will be purely regulatory so PAGCOR will no longer be allowed to operate casinos and PAGCOR will no longer be allowed to issue licenses so lahat ng mga prangkisa ay mangagagling sa kongreso”

Alvarez added, “yung PCSO ganun din  they will no longer be allowed to operate lottery  at saka magbigay ng kahit anong lisensiya para sa small town lottery  franchises lahat yan kailangan pumunta sa kongreso ngayon yung PCSO will purely be a recipient para magawa nila yung kanilang mandato para doon sa charity”

Alvarez also said, ” pati yung mga prangkisa sa mga mining corporations alam mo dumami yng pagbibigay ng lisensiya prangkisa kahit wala namang capability nangyari in the previous administrations binibigyan ng mga prangkisa kahit wala namang capability na magoperate ang ginagawa lang tinuturn aorund binebenta yung license yung dapat na requirements na dapat patupad ng denr ay naiignore maraming navaviolate  doon”

Alvarez likewise said, “pati ltfrb kasi prublema naman nakita na nila kapos ng mga puv mga buses ay hanggang ngayon pinagaaralan pa rin ano yung tamang numbers ng buses ano naman pakialam natin doon  bigyan mo ng prangkisa yan gusto mo ng 1000 prublema nila yun ng negosyante kung kikita o hindi dito habang dumadami yan mas mabuisa riding public regulatory na lang sila dapat”

Alvarez points out that currently, Congress’ constitutional power to issue franchises were delegated to these executive agencies that have been problematic in the exercise of these delegated powers.

“kasi yun talaga yung power ng congress eh. all franchises kailangan mangagaling sa congress ngayon parang dinelegate lang ng congress i think kinakailangan nang bawiin ng congress dahil sa dami ng prublema na nangyayari. kasama yung mga nangyari sa resorts world etong nagkakagulo na STL na yan  kasama po iyan.”

Alvarez says the agencies will then just be made to focus on regulatory functions. “pag pumasa yung batas doons a bagong function ng pagcor na purely regulatory lahat yan under sa pagcor”

Alvarez says once his bill becomes law, existing franchises in these sectors will be revoked and holders will have to apply for a franchise before Congress within a year. “marerevoke lahat ng pinagiisue nilang lisensiya pag pumasa yung batas na yun pero bibigyan natin lahat ng one year para magapply ng franchises sa congress so hihigpitan naman natin yung requirements”

Alvarez explained one of his reasons is the RWM incident, which showed the need to tighten the procedures for the issuance of casino franchises. Alvarez says Congress will be strict in the requirements, including the submittion of fire and safety plans, among others.

other lawmakers meantime want to tighten the access of Filipinos to casinos.

ACTS OFW rep. John Bertiz wants the imposition of a cash bond for Filipinos. “yun din ang dapat pagaralan ng pagcor na mregulate yung ating kababayan na malimit sila sa pagpasok dati kasi may tinatawag na cash bond kung pilipino ka you have to parang magalagay show money and cash bond wala na ngayon yun eh”

Misamis Oriental Rep. Peter Unabia has a pending bill seeking to impose an entrance fee to Filipinos before they access casinos.  House bill 2062 has been pending since July last year.

Alvarez adds that the joint committee investigation led to more questions that will have to be answered in future hearings. “hindi ako nakasama sa ocular inspection. ah maraming tanong na dapat pang sagutin. isang nakita ko doon ano yung una yung assailant bakit niya hinahanap yung room 510 ano bang meron doon kasi makita mo inahanap niya talaga eh room 510 sino ba ang nakatira doon sino ba nakacheck in doon hinanap niya sa dmai ng kwarto bakit tumtitng sa isya doon nakita niya 510 yun  pilit niyang buksan kunin natin yung information bakit yun ang pinuntirya na kwarto”

Alvarez also said owners of RWM must attend the next hearing, scheduled next week, “kailangan alamin natin kaya nga sabi ko marami pang katanungan na dapat nating itanong maliban doon sa  yung mga sceurity procedure ng resorts world na  dapat marami talagang sagutin at dapat yung may ari mismo mag attend  ng committee heraing”

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas highlighted the inadequacy of RWM’s capabilities to uphold security and safety. “well kailangan ng stricter implementation of existing laws kungdi bagong regulasyon dahil facilities like resorts world manila, casino, hotel dapat naman merong silang fire equipment like self contained breathing aparatus meron silang  fire proof suits like what happened there i lament that a lot of lives could have been saved nakita naman natin they only went inside nung umaga na eh wala naman nang threat eh wala na yung gunman meron lang silang in house nakikita naman nila situation doon so yun ang nangyari.”

Speaking to DZMM after the hearing on Wednesday, Alvarez also spoke of the lapses of RWM.” Sa tingin ko, more lapses talaga doon sa security dahil unang-una, tinanong nga namin – kasi pagbaba, nakataxi yan, so, pagbaba niyan, may bitbit daw na bag na malaki…di ba pag pumasok ka, meron na agad security doon sa pagpasok…merong X-ray machine…oo…at saka yung pinapasukan ng tao…metal detector…ngayon, kasi yung video, nung pinakita, nasa elevator na siya…lumabas…merong panibagong…tapos tinutukan yung guard na babae, tumakbo…pero yung pagbaba niya sa taxi at pagpasok niya…first niyang pumasok sa premises…paano siya nakapasok na bitbit yung bag?”

Alvarez added that police should have been able to take over the operations at RWM as soon as it was established that firearms were involved. “” Tama ho ang sinabi niyo, Ka Gerry, yun talaga ang procedure…kahit na hindi napag-alaman na ISIS yan, kung merong may baril, may nangyayaring kaguluhan sa loob, dapat immediately, yung police authority talagang mag-takeover na sa operation. At ito, ang napag-alaman natin kanina, hindi nila agad sinabi agad sa police authority na mayroon pa palang backup CCTV room. Inaalam natin doon sa officers ng Resorts World, kung bakit hindi niyo sinabi sa pulis na meron pa lang backup na CCTV. “

Alvarez says the admission of RWM that there were security lapses bolsters possible cases that maybe filed by victims of the incident. “Mabigat na bagay yan dahil pag na-establish natin o ng complainant na talagang merong lapses sa security kaya yun ang naging cause kung bakit namatay yung mga tao doon sa loob, malakas na kaso yan. “

Alvarez also scored RWM for hiring staff of questionnable qualifications. on Wednesday, lawmakers ganged up on the qualifications of RWM Chief Security Officer Armeen Gomez after it was established that he is not even a college graduate.”Wala at saka nakita natin na yung backgroung ng kanilang security nung tinatanong na ni Cong. Acop kanina, yung kanilang background di ba? Nung una ay nagsisinungaling…tapos ayaw pa magsabi…hindi pa niya sinabi na siya pala ay na-dismiss sa Philippine Military Academy tapos biglang nung tinanong siya kung anong natapos niya…kung grumaduate siya, sumagot siya ng oo…management ata, nung tinanong siya kung anong eskwelahan ay hindi na niya masabi. Opo at makikita natin na ang Resorts World ay may kapabayaan sa pagpili rin ng kanilang empleyado, hindi natin pinagkakatiwala yung buhay ng mga tao doon sa isang tao na kulang sa training, kulang sa kaalaman tungkol sa security so bakit siya nilagay doon?”

 

(sots)