THE GOVERNANCE Commission for GOCCs (GCG) has barred the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) from laying off more than 700 employees of a casino in Malate, a senator said on Thursday.

In a statement, Senator Rafael T. Tulfo said GCG Chairman Marius P. Corpus said in a meeting on Wednesday that the government-owned or -controlled corporation (GOCC) regulator has “prohibited” PAGCOR from firing workers from Casino Filipino — New Coast in Malate, because its redundancy plan has not been approved.

The layoffs were announced after the casino turned over its operations to a Hong Kong-based gaming company.

Mr. Corpus said the GCG is also working on a salary increase for PAGCOR employees, after Mr. Tulfo raised the issue of many casino workers being paid below minimum wage.

The GCG Chairman, GCG Commissioner Geraldine Marie Martinez along with other GCG employees, met with the senator on Wednesday to discuss casino worker pay and the retrenchment plan.

In a Senate Amusement and Games Committee hearing on Jan. 25, the senator urged the GCG to fix its compensation system for casino workers, who complained of insufficient pay at the hearing.

In August, PAGCOR announced the privatization of 45 casinos by the third quarter of 2025, which is expected to generate between P60 billion and P80 billion in revenue.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian has said that the privatization will make up for the lost revenue from the shutdown of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators after it was reported that PAGCOR failed to collect P2.2 billion in un-paid dues from these companies. — John Victor D. Ordoñez