Monday, April 25, 2005

NR0427:PAGCOR's high rollers

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release April 26, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Salaries of Pagcor retainers, consultants should go to barangay health workers; gambling industry steeped in corruption

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed indignation over the expose made by Senator Jinggoy Estrada that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) paid the Hyatt Marina Hotel Casino some P489 in rent money for the first 12 months of its operations, as well as mainting 116 consultants, 103 retainers and various other directors in exclusive clubs.

"It's highly unconscionable that the PAGCOR maintains an army of consultants and legal experts when other government agencies that perform ser vices and functions crucial to public service are so understaffed," he said. "The funds that go into the salaries of these consultants and retainers should be allotted for the increases in allowances of, for instance, barangay health workers or public school teachers in the far-flung regions and provinces," he said.

Beltran said that he voted against the extension of the Napocor franchise when the bill was deliberated over in Congress as one of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's revenue generation measures.

"The gambling industry is in truth a extremely effective in generating revenues, but where exactly do these revenues go and how much does the general public benefit from them?," he said. "It's apparent that for all the PAGCOR's projections that it gives millions in donations to socio-civic projects of the government and contributes to charities, billions more are pocketed by its various officials and their business partners in the private sector. The PAGCOR is a government institution where corruption is inherent and undeniable," he said.

The veteran labor leader said that he was in principle against big-time gambling as a revenue generating measure for a government. "The tie-ups and links between the government officials running the PAGCOR and its gambling facilities and their partners in the private sector cannot remain untainted by corruption. It's inevitable that million-peso deals are brokered between them and most of it is taxpayers' funds." #


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