‘Conditional OK’ to open casino


Imperial Pacific Resort’s casino may soon go “live” after the Commonwealth Casino Commission conditionally approved its request to begin operations.

CCC met yesterday with representatives of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library’s technology room to discuss the Hong Kong-based investor’s request to open its casino while the hotel side is still being completed. Representatives of permitting agencies like the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality and Department of Public Works’ Building and Safety Code Division were also present.

The meeting was to review IPI’s request to begin casino operations inside the hotel that is currently being built.

CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said the conditional approval compels IPI to still work and complete commission requirements before the casino can begin operations.

“When that’s done, the chair and I will go by and re-inspect it to make sure all the documents are completed and submitted.”

“And that would be the time the commission would issue the approval to go live. When that would be? It depends on when IPI would submit all requirements. They submitted an enormous amount of documentation [Wednesday] and [Tuesday] electronically,” added Deleon Guerrero.

He said the commission and their staff are going through all electronic information submitted by IPI. “We’re going through a lot. We’re looking at an enormous amount of information.”

J.M Aquino Engineering structure inspector Norman Pangelinan, BECQ administrator Frank Rabauliman, Division of Environmental Quality director Ray S. Masga, DPW Building Safety official Casiano Bostre, and inspector supervisor Angelo Camacho spoke at the meeting.

Pangelinan, Camacho, and Bostre testified that the structure has met all building regulations while IPI assured the commission that all concerns raised by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have all been addressed, including the construction debris that have already been cleared.

Deleon Guerrero said the commission invited representatives of permitting agencies in reference to the concerns on IPI’s request to begin the operation of its gaming facility.

He said that based on what the commission heard yesterday, IPI has substantially complied with all the requirements of all permitting agencies. “We had an extensive discussion with the folks who are providing the OSHA training and also got an update on the building code from DPW.

“There was an intensive briefing on the safety and integrity of the building. We had a representative from J.M. Aquino [Engineering], the structural engineering firm that was hired by IPI. Based on their discussion, the facility has not only met the code but actually went beyond. That the structural facility is safe goes beyond the requirements of the code.”

Another review

Deleon Guerrero said they would still review the other documents and information that they asked IPI to submit. They sent a letter to IPI (CNMI) chief executive officer Yiu Ling Kwong detailing a list that IPI needs to accomplish before fully allowing the casino to begin operations.

The full operation of the fire alarm systems and increased presence of fire watch, safety consultant, construction workers’ proper work authorization, legal certification, parking spaces, trash removal and IPR grounds enhancement, and indemnification agreement were the ones that IPI must address.

Deleon Guerrero said they would have another chance to review all the documents that IPI submitted yesterday and the other information that would be given to them in the coming days.

“[Once] the commission received all of those information that we requested on our May 26 letter and [CCC] is satisfied, the chair and I are authorized to issue the approval for the casino to go live.”

“Again, they have to submit all the documents that we requested in the May 26 letter issued to the CEO. We are going through this because they have started to provide us the data and some are given through electronic form,” said Deleon Guerrero.

“We’re having our audit and compliance team review those, making sure we take our time to review and making sure the information that we requested are in fact in there,” he added.
All set for gaming

Deleon Guerrero said that IPI has done everything needed to comply with the gaming part. “The gaming is ready. It is just the facility and safety that is in question. If the other permitting agencies are satisfied and comfortable, then we should not wait until [last week of] June at our next meeting.”

“We could proceed based on our checklist, if they met it then they should be allowed to open. It is just basically switching location from [T Galleria] to the new location. The staff is ready; all operations as far as the gaming part are ready. All the machines have been certified and audited. All the requirements and surveillance system are all in place.”

Construction, once it resumes, would only be done at the back part of the building where there would be less pedestrian traffic. “There are [also] security and safety officers there. They are not allowing people to go to the back. The entrance is at the north side. The south and west side is where the next phase is.”

Deleon Guerrero said that IPI needs to comply with what they have listed or there won’t be any approval to open the casino facility. “The gaming part is ready to go. The issue now is safety.”

“We’re doing our due diligence on this. We want to make sure the people who work there, the patrons who come in to play, our staff, and everyone who enters and exits the facility would be safe.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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