The Chairman and CEO of Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR, Alejandro Tengco, has strongly refuted local media reports that around 700 employees of a Manila integrated resort are to be laid-off, insisting instead that all have been provided with fair and reasonable options.
His comments refer to the transition of casino operations at New Coast Hotel Manila to the hotel’s owner, Marina Square Properties, Inc (MSPI), after it was issued a provisional casino license in 2020. MSPI, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed International Entertainment Corp (IEC), had previously operated the casino as part of a 40-60 joint-venture partnership with PAGCOR but is planning to assume full control as part of its plans to turn New Coast into a fully-fledged integrated resort.
The privatization of New Coast has seen local media report that the property’s 700-plus PAGCOR employees are currently being laid off by the regulator, however, speaking with Inside Asian Gaming at ICE London last night (Asia time), Tengco insisted that such claims are “very incorrect”.
Instead, the PAGCOR chair revealed that all impacted employees have been offered three options, including the opportunity to re-apply to MSPI to retain their positions.
“Those employees have the opportunity to get cash in their pocket and have the option to then re-apply,” Tengco said.
“Once accepted they will not even go through a probationary period – they will be considered a proper employee.
“And MSPI’s preference is for those staff to join them, because they will be needing staff, there is no need to train them and they know the business they are applying for.”
Other options, the chairman explained, include a retirement plan under which staff can file for retirement, receive all benefits as mandated by law as well as at least one-month’s worth of pay for each year of service. Alternatively, Tengco said PAGCOR has recently made 1,000 new positions available within the regulator for which existing employees are likely to be approved, as long as they applied for suitable positions commensurate with their skills and experience.
“So [affected staff] will not be laid off but given three options, which I believe is very fair,” Tengco said.
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming, MSPI last year signed a new Provisional License agreement with PAGCOR in relation to New Coast, revealing it would invest up to US$1.2 billion to redevelop the property. It also announced an agreement with Malaysian gaming equipment distributor RGB to acquire 382 slot machines for use at New Coast.