PAGCOR recalls P50M donation for Pili LGU

By Danny P. Aureus


The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) recently withdrew its P50 million donation to the local government of unit (LGU) of Pili, Camarines Sur for the construction of a multipurpose building after the town’s legislative council disapproved a resolution to authorize Mayor Tomas Bongalonta, Jr., to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the donor on the implementation of the project.


According to Bongalonta, the absence of the MOA prompted PAGCOR to take back its donation and instead gave the P50-million project to the LGU of San Jose, Camarines Sur.


Bongalonta including municipal councilors Narcel Lopez and Francis Belen were regretful over the loss of the project, which is intended to serve as an evacuation center for town residents during calamities.


Bongalonta said that the one-hectare site of the proposed two-storey building in Barangay Cadlan was already donated by the Congregation of the Mission led by Fr. Rene Ruelos.


He said his political opponents in the Sangguniang Bayan consisting of Vice Mayor Solano and majority of the councilors, who are allies of Governor Migz Villafuerte and Rep. LRay Villafuerte, gave priority to politics over the welfare of their constituents.


Lopez told Bicol Mail that majority of the councilors who are supporters of Villafuerte wanted the PAGCOR-funded building built in the lot owned by the provincial government in Barangay San Jose.


Only Lopez and Belen voted in favor of authorizing Bongalonta to enter into a MOA with PAGCOR. Those who voted against the resolution were councilors: Rogelio Regondola; Romeo Salazar; Augusto Camano; Maria Mercedeta Violeta; Efren Amesola; Nicheta Mslate; Nerio Brazal; and Leni Kent Amiel Tormes.


Bongalonta said had the Sangguniang Bayan members allowed him to sign the MOA, the building would be nearing completion already by this time.


PAGCOR waited for several months for Bongalonta to submit the MOA before it decided to withdraw its donation. Four other LGUs in the province received P50 million each as donations from the state gaming agency for the construction of multipurpose buildings.