Bulakenyo lawmaker and Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Party List Representative and House Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva lambasted the denial of his proposed amendments to insert a provision on House Bill 7575, or the creation of Bulacan economic zone bill, that will expressly prohibit the operation of gambling businesses in the proposed economic zone.
House Bill 7575 seeks to establish a special economic zone and freeport in Bulacan, within the area surrounding the new international airport that will be constructed in the province.
It was learned that the proposed bill was already approved on 3rd reading at the House of Representatives.
“During the plenary debate, I was scheduled to interpellate the measure but was told not to ask anymore and they will just accommodate our proposed amendments. We introduced amendments that will expressly prohibit the conduct and operation of any form and kind of gambling in the ecozone but were never reflected in the bill. Thus, in effect the bill will still allow gambling and casinos to be established in my home province. To add more insult to the pain, I was not able to explain my dissenting vote during the 3rd reading vote on the bill because it is so hard to connect and access the zoom session of the House,” cries Deputy Speaker Villanueva.
“I am a loyal son of the Great Province of Bulacan who will seek and support any effort that will protect and promote the best interest of the Bulakeño people. We aspired that House Bill 7575 will bring holistic and genuine development for the country and for the Province of Bulacan but it seems it will not. Yes, it might open the country to factors that will improve the statistics and figures of our economy but it will also open our country, especially my Bulacan community, to the damaging effects and moral ills brought about by gambling like reduced familial stability, indebtedness, money laundering, prostitution, proliferation of drugs and crimes, to name a few,” says the CIBAC lawmaker who is the House Deputy Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness.
The lawmaker was that disappointed that the proposed amendment was not entertained when the opposition to gambling in this country is so pronounced.
“The President is opposed to it, even the franchise-recipient of the airport to be constructed in Bulacan is against gambling saying 75% of the clients will be domestic and you will be killing a lot of domestic businesses and will be contributing to break-ups of marriages and families. It is just disconnecting that our Constitution says that we “implore the aid of the Almighty God” in our quest to just and humane society and we pray for His blessings to our efforts towards good life and development yet we pass laws that are in defiance to God’s will and standards” adds Villanueva.
That is why the coalition of religious groups in Bulacan and even in the whole country from various denominations are ready any time to oppose the bill even through public assembly, he added.
He also ensure that casinos and other gambling operations will have no place in the envisioned economic zone in Bulacan.
Bro. Eddie is the father of former TESDA Director General and now Senator Joel Villanueva.