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Still in the pipeline or foregone conclusion?

05:03 AM October 25, 2017

The disingenuous officials of the Quezon City government are at it again: Telling their constituents one thing and doing another.

In the Oct. 20 Inquirer’s Metro report, the city council responded to an “open letter from concerned citizens” published on Oct. 16, assuring QC residents that there is nothing to worry about the rumor that a humongous casino would soon rise in their midst.

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Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, the presiding officer of the city council, said two things that discombobulated and made us wonder to what extent our city officials would go to hide the truth: 1) “There are no formal applications yet” for any casino operation in the city; and 2) The proposed ordinance — No. 20CC-247 — “was passed on second reading on Oct. 2, but would still be subject to another hearing… yet to be scheduled.”

Why on earth would there be any such “formal applications” or bids already if the ordinance permitting the establishment of a casino is still in the pipeline and not yet in the “market”? Unless, of course, casino operators already know that the proposed legislation is a forgone conclusion, Belmonte and her PR people have got to really work harder on their communication skills. Lame excuses or explanations like that insult the intelligence of QC residents. But then again, what do they really know?

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So the proposed ordinance was passed only on “second reading” and therefore still open for discussion in a “public hearing”? Who is city hall kidding? Recall only the “public hearings” held in the past which were nothing but egregious exercises in futility. They were just motions gone through on paper to meet the laughable requirements of the law.

For instance, those who attended the “public hearings” on the proposal to increase realty taxes in Quezon City were almost one in denouncing it as too burdensome and totally unnecessary because the city was awash with cash, outflanking even Makati City, which ranked a poor second to it in terms of income generated from taxes. But what happened? The city council passed that obnoxious ordinance anyway and the heck with public opinion! It even dry-gulched senior citizens on its promise to grant a 20-percent discount if the real estate is still registered in their names!

Only those born yesterday would be clueless about what really is going on. Establishing a casino like those behemoths sprouting in Pasay City’s “entertainment center” is a mega-multibillion “marketable” deal. Just think how “capital-intensive” local elections in this country’s most populous city are. Get the picture?

STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

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TAGS: Inquirer letters, Joy Belmonte, Quezon City casino, Stephen L. Monsanto
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