Casino operators eye repair of damaged schools in Yolanda-hit areasBy Maila Ager |INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – Aside from conducting relief operations, key players in the Philippine gaming industry are planning to help in the rehabilitation of public schools in areas severely affected by super typhoon “Yolanda,” (international name Haiyan).
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the Bloomberry (operator of Solaire Resort and Casino) and the Travellers International (operator of Resorts World Manila) have started their relief operations dubbed as “Isa tayo, Itayo ang ating Bayan” for the typhoon victims.
Thousands of employees of the three companies volunteered to repack at least 50,000 relief supplies stored in the basement of Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.
Pagcor said the repacking of the goods is a round-the-clock task. Each pack will include basic necessities like bottled water, rice, canned goods, toiletries, t-shirts and slippers.
“We are doing this on our own. The three companies have a role to play in the relief operations,” Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said in a statement on Monday.
Naguiat said Pagcor heads the steering committee that oversees the conduct of relief operations; Travellers handles the procurement of the relief item while Bloomberry will take care of the transportation and distribution of goods to heavily affected municipalities in Eastern Samar, including Lauauan, Balangiga, Giporlos, Quinaundan, Salcedo, Mercedes and Guiuan.
The 50,000 relief packs, Pagcor said, are expected to arrive to the intended beneficiaries by Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
“We are doing our best to facilitate everything. Representatives of Pagcor, Travellers and Bloomberry will be joining the relief efforts,” Naguiat said.
Apart from the relief operations, the three companies are also planning to help in the rehabilitation of public schools in severely affected areas in the Visayas.
“We want to come in where our help is needed most. A lot has to be done to help in the recovery of Tacloban, Leyte and other areas in Samar,” Naguiat said.
“Since Pagcor’s main advocacy is to help uplift the quality of education in the country, we, together with Travellers and Bloomberry, will extend help in rebuilding the schools in these areas.”
Such partnerships, according to the Pagcor chief, showed how the private and public sectors could harmoniously work together not only in moving the country forward but also in bringing hope to the needy.
“This goes to show that in trying times like these, even competitors can unite and work together for the benefit of many. Sa panahon ng kagipitan, ang buong gaming industry ay nagkakaisa sa pagtulong sa ating mga kababayang nasalanta. It is only by cooperating and uniting that our country can rise from such a devastating tragedy,” Naguiat added.
Kingson Sian, president of Travellers International, said the typhoon survivors should be given immediate relief since a lot of them were starving.
“Also beyond that is to really give them a hope na there are a lot of people who care for them. Itong relief effort diretso nating dadalhin sa kanila. We will be sending some of our employees also to bring the goods to different parts that were devastated by the typhoon,” Sian said.
Bloomberry board director Donato Almeda said the Philippine gaming industry was one in carrying out the project.
“Kaya nga ang tawag natin sa proyektong ito ay “Isa Tayo.” We made a call for everybody to pull together, para matulungan natin yung mga victims ng bagyo,” Almeda said.
“The most important thing that we have to do now is to cross the hunger stage of our fellow kababayans in Leyte and Samar. Sabi nga ni Chairman Naguiat, ang next stage sa industry namin is to rebuild the public schools particularly sa Leyte and Samar. Ito yung mga nasa important timeline na kailangang marating kaagad,” he added.