Thousands of workers displaced by the closure of the Fontana Leisure Park and Casino said the resort complex conducted legitimate operations.
They also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to “punish those who have sinned against the law” and “spare the innocent workers.”
Duterte has already ordered the dismissal of Bureau of Immigration Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles over allegations of corruption activities.
“They will be held accountable for their actions. They will face the full force of the law,” Duterte said. The two were appointed BI Commissioners by Duterte.
Argosino and Robles are his fraternity brothers from the San Beda College of Law.
“We need our jobs back. We need to provide. Please help us survive,” said a certain Mahalia Casiraya Bertillo in her Facebook account.
The more than 2,000 displaced workers of Fontana resorts complex will meet on Monday, December 19, to thresh out their predicament with the management and the government.
Joint elements of the Angeles City Police Office and the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group along with PAGCOR personnel closed the Fontana Casino on December 4.
The closure order signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea indicated only the Fontana Casino will be closed. The next day, however, the state-run Clark Development Corporation (CDC) served its ‘Cease and Desist Order’ against the Fontana Development Corporation.
The CDC has also suspended Fontana’s Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CORTE), the equivalent of Business/Mayor’s Permits issued by Local Government Units.
Bertillo said the Fontana workers “are mere victims of these unfortunate events involving the owner (Jack Lam) of this business and some greedy politicians who lick the President by ordering the immediate closure of the casino without any due process.”
“The media have been so concerned with the issues of corruptions and other illegalities, which only God knows who offered/received bribe money,” according to Bertillo.
“At least, from the perspective of a lowly worker, we believe that what we do for a living is legit and harmless. How can we be illegal, while we are regulated by the government, dues are paid according to contract and we abide by what’s written in that regulatory manual,” asked Bertillo.
Bertillo furthered that “out of the 1300 plus reported illegal aliens, only less than a hundred of them do not have a working visa.”
Bertillo ask government authorities to investigate the “circumstances which led to the failure to complete their requirements” at the CDC.
“The legit business was reported illegal; that we were shut down due to lack of permits. Not true at all. The casino’s closure may be understandable since it’s a cash cow, as others may see it. But to include the rest of the property in the cessation of operations — villas, hotels, water park, food outlets and other facilities, that is totally unreasonable and cruel,” according to Bertillo.
“The situation that the owner is currently into resulted to more than 2000 people jobless. Yes, call us the collateral damages for all the issues of corruption involving a small number of affluent businessmen and officials. While the families of the 2000 ‘victims’ will have to face the holidays and the coming year with uncertainty. Should we still re-open? Can we get our jobs back? How soon or how long? What are our chances of surviving this ordeal in our employment?
“We fear for our future; much more for the couples who are both employed here. Since the closure, which was unforeseen and unwarranted, suffering along with us, are our families. We have not seen ourselves losing our jobs this soon and in such an embarrassing manner. Our image and reputation as workers in Fontana have been tainted because that’s how it’s been projected these days- illegal, dirty and corrupt.”