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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines -- The leader of the Roman Catholic church in this city vowed to oppose any attempts by foreign investors to establish casinos here.
Last week, Mayor Vicente Emano announced that casino operators from China, Israel and Malaysia approached him with their proposals to build and operate the gambling centers.
Although Emano acknowledged he supports the idea, he said he told the foreign investors to get the church’s approval first.
“Unless they can convince the church then I am not allowing any casino to operate in the city,” Emano said. “There is no such thing as the separation of the church and the state. Actually, we have been careful about that. Although there is such a doctrine, but certainly we know that it is the government that works with the church.”
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma’s immediate reaction was to say casinos “will not be good for the community and for the families” of the city.
Ledesma said the church has a long history of opposing gambling.
Emano said he would stand by the church’s decision.
“The church did not approve of the proposal. So, there will never be a casino here,” he said.
Archdiocesan Social Action Center director Fr. Nathaniel Lerio stressed that the church was not alone in its opposition to the casino.