The Cebu City Council has given green signal to the application of Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. to build and operate an “integrated resort and casino facility”.
According to the Philippine Inquirer newspaper, the Philippines-based company would build this property on a 300-hectare (741.3-acre) artificial island situated in the southern part of the metro area, a land reclamation area on the suburbs of Cebu City.
Universal Hotels’ president Frederick Go expressed delight in a letter to the council describing the endorsement as a landmark in the Visayas Region and the country. He added that they had submitted an unsolicited proposal for the city’s kind consideration.
The decision was not unanimous though, with the endorsement passed by 7 votes to 5. Councillor Jose Daluz III, who voted against, believes that the council should have first reviewed if there were restrictions on the use of the land, such as the prohibition on casinos and other gambling facilities. Among others who opposed the resolution were of the opinion that it gave “undue advantage” to Universal Hotels.
Councillor Engenio Gabuya Jr. has said that this is just the endorsement and not an approval of the scheme. If Pagcor decides to pursue the development, they will have to come to the council for the approval.
The construction of a casino resort in Lapu-Lapu City, on the island of Mactan in Cebu province, has already been approved by the regulator. Dubbed as The Emerald Resort and Casino, the privately-held Udenna Development Corp broke ground in July on its US$341-million scheme. The project will come up on a 12.5-hectare beachfront property, located at a distance of six kilometres from Cebu’s international airport.
Earlier, Andrea Domingo, the head of Pagcor, had said that the regulator would welcome casino development applications for parts of the country aside from the capital Manila.