Cebu City endorses UHRI application, with some opposition

The Cebu City Council has reportedly endorsed an application for Universal Hotels and Resorts (UHRI) to develop and operate an integrated resort and casino facility in the area, according to the Inquirer.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr., who authored the resolution, said the operator would need the council’s endorsement for their application along with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

“[It is] a world-class development that will stand as a landmark in the Visayas Region and the country. We submitted an unsolicited proposal for the City’s kind consideration,”wrote UHRI president Frederick Go in a letter to the council.

However, the decision was met with opposition from certain councilors under the Barug Team Rama bloc. Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said there could be legal ramifications on the council’s approval of the request.

“We’re being presumptuous. We’re giving authority to them as if UHRI is the winning bidder of the project even if their unsolicited proposal will still have to go through Swiss Challenge. It’s like we’re doing them a favor without even going through the whole process first,” he said.

Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said the resolution was giving UHRI an “undue advantage”, while Councilor Jose Daluz III said the city should first review if there are restrictions on the use of the land when it came to gaming operations.

“This endorsement should be part of a bigger memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the P18 billion facility proposed there. It shouldn’t be done in advance,” said Daluz.