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The Cebu City Jai Alai Franchise

It was in 1978 that Cebu City was officially issued a franchise by President Marcos with the noble purpose of eliminating “masiao” which was popular to the Cebuanos and its neighboring provinces.

The following is an excerpt of the Presidential Decree No. 1507.


WHEREAS, civic organizations, the press, and the church, including the Archbishop of Cebu, have brought to the attention of the authorities the proliferation of illegal numbers game, locally called “Masiao”, to the detriment of the citizenry;

WHEREAS, it has been recommended by certain sectors such as the Cebu Queens City Lions Club, Cebu Jaycees, and the Cebu Tourism Council, that the re-opening of the Jai-Alai Fronton would substantially minimize the problem associated with the operation of the illegal numbers game;

WHEREAS, the experience of the government in holding out Basque Pelota as a sport, as an amusement, as tourism attraction, and as base for revenue generation for the government’s development projects since the enactment of Presidential Decree No. 810, has been most encouraging and successful;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND. E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, hereby decree as follows:

Section 1. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, there is hereby granted to the Philippine Games and Holidays Corporation, a corporation duly organized and registered under the laws of the Philippines, hereinafter called the grantee, or its successors, for a period of twenty-five years from the promulgation of this Decree, extendible for another twenty-five years without the necessity of another franchise, the right, privilege, and authority to construct, operate and maintain a court for Basque Pelota (including the games of pala, raqueta, cestapunta, remonte, and mano) in the City of Cebu, establish branches thereof for booking purposes, in the City of Cebu or elsewhere, and hold or conduct Basque pelota games therein with bettings either direct or by means of electric and/or computerized totalizator.

The games to be conducted by the grantee shall be under the supervision of the Games and Amusement Board, hereinafter referred to as the board, which shall enforce the laws, rules and regulations governing Basque Pelota as provided in Commonwealth Act numbered four hundred and eighty-five, as amended, and all the officials of the game and pelotaris therein shall be duly licensed as such by the Board.

Section 2. The grantee or its duly authorized agent may offer, take or arrange bets within or outside the place, enclosure or court where the Basque pelota games are held; Provided, That bets offered taken or arranged outside the place, enclosure or court where the games are held, shall be offered, taken or arranged only in places duly licensed by the corporation, Provided, however, That the same shall be subject to the supervision of the Board. Any person, not otherwise authorized under this Act, who shall offer, take or arrange bets on any basque pelota game or event and similar games of skill or knowingly permit the commission of any of the act prohibited in this Act in any inhabited or uninhabited place or any building, vessel or other means of transportation owned or controlled by him: violates any provision of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand pesos nor more than five thousand pesos, or by imprisonment of not less than six months, or both in the discretion of the Court; Provided, further, That any person who shall make or place a bet with such unauthorized person, operators or maintainers shall likewise be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than two thousand pesos, or by imprisonment of one day to thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court. If the offender is a partnership, corporation or association, the criminal liability shall devolve upon its president, directors or any other officials responsible for the violation.