Senator Risa Hontiveros to investigate Clark Freeport Zone

Posted: Aug 17, 2020 10:06 Category: Asia , Regulatory , Posted by Maria Debrincat

Resort to be fully investigated after several illegalities were discovered

Senator Risa Hontiveros called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) to investigate Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino located in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.  

This call came just after police arrested 7 Chinese men, 6 Chinese women and 2 Vietnamese women allegedly involved in human trafficking and prostitution activities inside the resort.  

The senator noted that the resort should be fully investigated as this is not the first illegal incident discovered in the resort.  

Senator Risa HontiverosLast May, an alleged illegal underground hospital catering for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) employees was discovered inside the resort property and was subsequently shut down. Arrested were 2 Chinese nationals allegedly operating the make-shift COVID-19 facility in one of the resort’s villas.  

In 2016, Fontana’s casino rooms were ordered for closure following arrest of 1,300 illegal Chinese workers inside the property allegedly involved in online gaming activities. The incident stirred discussions in the industry and the eventual issuance of arrest order for Macau’s junket tycoon Jack Lam, whose Jimei Group runs the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino property.  

The arrest order came directly from President Rodrigo Duterte, accusing Lam of economic sabotage and bribery.  

Clark Freeport Zone, where Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino is located, houses several land-based casinos and online gaming operators. Last year, Oriental Gaming, one of the largest online operators in Asia, announced that they are investing P8 billion (US$160 million) to build 2 POGO hubs, one of which will be built in Clark, to serve as a one-stop-shop for foreign workers to secure work clearances. The first hub in Cavite, south of Manila, can accommodate 20,000 workers, while the hub in Clark Freeport Zone will be able to accommodate 5,000 workers.   

Each hub will host government offices for regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Immigration.  


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