MANILA, Philippines – Chinese entrepreneur John Gokongwei, who was labeled by Forbes Magazine as the second richest man in the Philippine’s with a net value of 5.8 billion dollars, has pledged to finance 18 billion pesos for the casino venture that he will be constructing in Cebu.

Gokongwei is looking to build the resort and casino in the South Road Properties (SRP) of Cebu, a reclamation site located in Cebu City’s southern part. This move indicates the conglomerate’s thrust toward the gaming industry.

Universal Hotels and Resorts Incorporated (UHRI), which is owned by Gokongwei, has presented a voluntary proposal to the city government to develop property in the SRP in Kawit into an integrated casino and resort facility.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City mentioned that a portion of the 18 billion pesos investment would be allotted to the recruitment of electricians, construction workers, and security guards who will construct the resort and casino.

Osmeña noted that Gokongwei agreed to subsidize 18 billion pesos for an 80,000 sq m world-class, complete development which comprises of bars, a mall,  a restaurant, a convention center, a park, a casino, and at least three hotels.

Osmeña stated that the investment project would produce 5,000 new careers.

According to him, the new project will be known as Isla dela Victoria; the name is after a Cebuano, Jojo dela Victoria, who died safeguarding Cebu waters against dynamite fishermen. Isla dela Victoria will place the highlight on the South Road Properties.

Gokongwei, JG Summit Holdings Incorporated chairman, paid a visit to the site in December of last year.

Andrea Domingo, chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), said last February that Universal Hotels and Resorts Incorporated had been issued a license already for operating the casino.

According to her, they plan to open the project in 2022.

UHRI said in a statement that the suggested development plan would include an integrated gaming and resort facility, a shopping and commercial center, an amusement park, and other amenities. UHRI will rent the land for fifty years.

Other than Gokongwei, businessmen Manuel Villar Jr. and Dennis Uy are also putting up casino resorts.

Domingo said that Villar is looking to build a casino on a 1,000-hectare land in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

In the meantime, Dennis Uy’s second casino will be put up inside his recently developed central business site in Clark, Pampanga, Clark Global City. This is in addition to Uy’s first casino project, the Emerald Resort and Casino, which he intends to build in Cebu as well.

The Duterte administration earlier decided to cease the license issuance to new casinos, considering the increase in the number of casinos based in the land. However, the suggested projects of Gokongwei, Villar, and Uy was filed earlier with PAGCOR before the release of the order.


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