Two weeks of intrigue ended in June when Efraim Genuino resigned as chairman of the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation. Genuino was reappointed to the role in March, just one day before a ban on political appointments by the outgoing president went into effect. Four other board members of PAGCOR were reappointed at the same time, but no word has been received on whether they have also resigned.
The new president of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, has designs on the position of chairman for a friend, former classmate and confidant Bong Naguiat. But when it was revealed that outgoing president Gloria Arroyo had reappointed Genuino as chairman before so-called “midnight appointments” were barred, Aquino allies began calling for the chairman to step down. When the pressure increased day by day, Genuino finally agreed to resign. He had said in a TV interview that he wanted to meet with the new president to stress the need for “continuity” in the development of the gaming industry.
Officially, Genuino asked for an “early retirement” that was to begin on June 30 when Arroyo was slated to step down.
Genuino has been chairman since 2001 and has accomplished much, most notably the formation and marketing of PAGCOR’s Entertainment City, an eight-hectare piece of reclaimed land on the shores of Manila Bay. The project is slated to include four integrated resorts, to be built under a budget in excess of US$1 billion each. Three of the parcels have been claimed: Universal Distributing of Japan (formerly Aruze), Genting and the Belle Corp., with the gaming portion reportedly to be operated by Harrah’s Entertainment.
Entertainment City is designed to revive the tourism segment of the Philippine economy. Adjacent to the massive Mall of Asia, Entertainment City would be part of a vast development of tourism-friendly attractions along the bay.