Philippines: Catholic archbishop against new casino in Opol

The country’s Catholic Church is also against e-sabong bill.
The country’s Catholic Church is also against e-sabong bill.

The opening of a new PAGCOR casino venue, the Grand Imperial, was heavily criticised by the archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.

The Philippines.- Last December, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) announced the opening of the Grand Imperial, a new casino venue in Barangay Taboc.

However, the announcement was not well received by the local catholic church as the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro published an open letter, signed by Archbishop Jose Cabantan, against the opening.

According to Cabantan, “gambling involves risking money or something of value on uncertain events driven by chance. Sometimes one can win more than the risk but ultimately gamblers as a group will lose over time. 

“The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. It is in this sense that we oppose the operation of a gambling institution even if it is legal and much more since it’s clandestinely constructed in the archdiocese.”

A senior priest in the archdiocese told Rappler that Archbishop Jose Cabantan also called a meeting of clergy after the New Year to discuss actions to be taken on the new casino complex.

Monsignor Rey Monsanto, the parish priest of the Barangay Camaman-an Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Cagayan de Oro, said that when the casino opened, the residents were “surprised”.

The Archdiocese learned of its existence through Father Joel Oga, the priest of the Diocese of Opol.

Monsanto even stated: “We will vigorously oppose its operation and would even resort to picketing its entrances.”

Last November, several Catholic church leaders also expressed their opposition to the country’s e-sabong bill.

Romulo Valles, Archbishop of Davao and former chairman of the Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops (CBCP), said that online gambling, in this case, cockfighting, “is still gambling”. 

He also said the enactment of the bill was going to promote an attitude that it is okay to use much-needed money for gambling. He then added such attempts to legalise e-sabong could cause Filipino families to fall apart. 

Seven bishops and a diocesan administrator from the catholic church also issued a statement against Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to allow gambling on Boracay.

They said that allowing gambling would “destroy the treasured values, culture and life of the community.” 

The Catholic church’s Diocese of Kalibo and the Boracay Foundation Inc (BFI) had previously joined residents against the project.

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gambling GAMBLING REGULATION land-based casino