By: Roy Stephen C. Canivel – @inquirerdotnet – July 27, 2018

Four foreign developers are in talks to invest at least $800 million to put up integrated casinos and resorts in Cagayan, according to a development authority.

Top Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) officials told reporters on Thursday they were discussing with Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Chinese firms for these projects. They deferred to name the firms since talks were still ongoing.
Ceza Senior Deputy Administrator Raymundo Roquero said one developer was eyeing to invest at least $500 million for a 10,000-hectare lot on Fuga Island.
“Others will probably invest at least $100 million [each]. I know one [firm] whose starting [cost] is $500 million [which] will start with the hotel that has a casino,” he said. The latter would then expand to include villas and a theme park, replicating “the Jeju Island type of destination” in South Korea.

In January, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) imposed a moratorium on new casinos on orders from President Duterte.
Ceza Administrator and CEO Raul Lambino said this moratorium did not cover the four interested developers.

“That’s for Pagcor. This is not included there. We are an economic zone,” Lambino said.

Granting a license to a casino is one of the powers and functions vested under Ceza, according to its enabling law Republic Act 7922.

The casinos, if plans push through, would add to Ceza’s revenue pool, which has so far been getting boosts from financial technology (fintech) firms.

Ceza earned P205.976 million in the second quarter from offshore fintech firms, bringing its first semester revenue to P340.625 million. With this figure, Ceza had exceeded its 2017 full year revenue by 51.7 percent.