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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Organized Catholic schools in Misamis Oriental and Camiguin provinces, and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente issued separate position papers, calling on the government to close down for good a new casino opened in a town near Cagayan de Oro in December 2021.
The Cagayan de Oro Network of Archdiocesan Schools (CONAS) and the IFI Diocese of Libertad simultaneously released their position papers on Wednesday, January 19, two days before Misamis Oriental’s legislature resumes its investigation into the operations of Grand Imperial casino in Barangay Taboc, Opol town.
Grand Imperial shut its doors on Monday, January 17, a day after Misamis Oriental was placed under Alert Level 3 category by the coronavirus Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) due to rising COVID-19 infections and the threat posed by the more transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.
Rhey Yecyec, Taboc barangay chairman, said the COVID-19 threat forced the casino to call off its scheduled grand launch on January 22, and cease operations only until January 31 or after Misamis Oriental reverts to a less strict alert level.
Groups opposed to the casino operations, however, said the Universal Hotels and Resorts Incorporated (UHRI) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) should no longer be allowed to resume the casino operations.
The position paper of the schools’ association was signed by Reverend Father Max Ceballos, CONAS superintendent, Reverend Father Roberto Balsamo Jr. of the San Roque Parish High School, Sister Estrella Mandin of the Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Claveria town, Reverend Father Mark Harvey Elloren of Xavier Academy of Initao town, Sister Maria Fe Gonzaga of the Holy Rosary Academy of Camiguin, Reverend Father Victor Melvin Abejero of CONAS Elementary, Sister Adela Gunting of the Holy Child High School, and Marilou Maristela of the Saint Isidore School of Medina town.
The following is the full text of the CONAS statement:
The Right Reverend Redeemer Yanez Jr., the bishop of the IFI in Libertad, also released the diocese’s position paper that was signed by him on January 11. The Libertad diocese has jurisdiction over the IFI parishes in western areas of Misamis Oriental, including Opol town.
The following is the full text of the IFI Diocese of Libertad’s statement: