PAGCOR steps in to provide assistance to victims of Typhoon Noru

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Posted on: Oct 18, 2022 10:39 am.

Last updated on: October 18, 2022, 10:52 am.

Barely a month ago, Typhoon Noru, or Super Typhoon Karding, devastated parts of Asia for those in the Philippines. As part of its commitment to serving the community, the Philippine gaming industry has stepped up to provide relief to the hardest-hit areas.

Philippines flag
A tattered Philippine flag flies over a flooded city hit by Typhoon Noru. Gaming regulator PAGCOR and casino operators continue to provide the necessary support to cities across the country. (Picture: Associated Press)

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and casino licensees have been busy since the September 21 typhoon. They continuously deliver food and other relief supplies to different areas of the country to support the reconstruction process.

Since the first delivery, the gaming industry has delivered 17,500 “aid packages”, according to the regulator and the casino operator. A total of around $10 million was spent to help communities rebuild.

Widespread Destruction

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that at least 38 people died and five are still missing after Typhoon Noru passed through the northern Philippines. It left thousands of people in evacuation centers and caused severe damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

The Philippine National Emergency Council reported the deaths in Rizal, Zambales, Quezon and Bulacan provinces, all on the island of Luzon. Noru made landfall there on September 26 as a “super typhoon”. It arrived with sustained winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour (154 MPH), according to the Philippine Weather Service.

Since then, PAGCOR and its licensees have been busy supporting various communities. By the end of September, they had distributed around 1,500 relief packages in several areas hardest hit by the typhoon.

After two more weeks, the casino segment continued to ramp up its efforts. In addition to the PAGCOR, the Widus Hotel and Casino Clark and the Stotsenberg Foundation, the charity arm of the Stotsenberg Leisure Park and Hotel Corporation, also took part, according to the regulator.

In addition, the Royce Hotel and Casino Foundation, Travelers International Hotel Group and others have contributed.

Talk of disbanding PAGCOR continues

PAGCOR has been overseeing the Philippines’ gaming ecosystem for years, while also managing its own casinos. For almost as long there was talk of splitting the company into two separate entities. The idea is to privatize casino operations.

This is because some see this as a conflict of interest. However, PAGCOR has consistently demonstrated its ability to manage both sides. It provides significant revenue to the state and communities and keeps casinos afloat.

In the first half of this year, PAGCOR generated net income of about PHP 2.16 billion (US$38.3 million). This is an increase of 2,600% compared to the previous year. But at that time land-based casinos were shut down by COVID-19.

However, there are people in government who believe that PAGCOR should shut down its casino operations. The push continued this week as the Philippine Governance Commission for State-Owned or Controlled Enterprises renewed its call.

That Manila Bulletin reported that the commission’s chairman, Alex L. Quiroz, reaffirmed the organization’s position, which it has held since 2018. However, the final decision rests with Ferdinand Marcos, the country’s new president.

There’s no word on what Marcos might do. He implemented some reforms within PAGCOR two months ago, which may indicate that he is not intent on breaking the company in two.

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