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House poised to let Resorts World reopen

By: Ben R. Rosario

Assured that public safety and security will be the primordial concerns of the Resorts World Manila management and government agencies, the House of Representatives no longer interposed any objection to the resumption of operations of the hotel-casino where 37 guests and employees died following an attack by a lone gunman on June 2.

Officials of the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.,

Philippine Export Zone Authority, and the Pasay City government joined the RWM management in guaranteeing that the public will be same when RWM is reopened barely a month after the siege staged by lone gunman Jessie Javier Carlos.

David Chua Ming Huat, board chairman of the Travellers International Hotel Group which operates RWM, told lawmakers in Wednesday’s congressional inquiry into the incident that the hotel management will never compromise safety and security because it will impact its stakeholders.

Hotel security and the implementation of swift emergency measures have been questioned by lawmakers who lamented the death of the 37 guests and casino employees due to suffocation.

House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas and other House members grilled Chua as they sought assurance of public safety should the hotel be allowed to resume operations.

Non-casino areas of the RWM have resumed operations, it was gathered.

However, a Pagcor closure order placed on hold the reopening of the casino which was the subject of Carlos’ gun attack.

During the hearing, Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusement, called on the BFP to do its job in inspecting the fire safety standards in the casino, saying that it has the mandate to ensure public safety against fire and arson in all business establishments in the country.

The BFP, it was reported, has not conducted fire prevention standards at the casino because PEZA has claimed jurisdiction over casinos and freeports in the country.

Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon (LP, Muntinlupa City) pointed out the incorrect interpretation of PEZA’s internal rules and regulations. “PEZA is overreaching the implementation of its laws. Their interpretation is suited sa kung ano gusto nila mangyari,” he said.

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