Duterte says no to Boracay casino

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — There will be no casino in Boracay, this was the clear statement of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.

Duterte clarified he does not want Casino in Boracay Island.

But no less than House Speaker Pantaleo Alvarez, during the  March 21, 2018 interview with reporters,  said he saw nothing irregular about the government allowing the development of casinos on Boracay Island.

A report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Alvarez saying “There’s no problem. It’s a tourist zone … If there are casinos here in Metro Manila, why should they be banned anywhere else?”

Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and its local partner, AB Leisure Exponent Inc., are building a $500-million integrated casino resort in Boracay. AB Leisure is a unit of Leisure and Resorts World Corp.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has confirmed it would sign a contract for the grant of a provisional license to the gaming firms.

But during the pre-departure confrence Monday, Duterte stressed “Wala akong plano diyan [na] casino-casino. Tama na ‘yan kasi sobra na. Casino dito, casino doon. Give it to the people who need it most.”

President Rodrigo Duterte says no on the proposed Boracay casino.-Robinson Niñal/Presidential Photo

Duterte stressed “In the meantime, there’s no plan. My order was to clean it up. So mag-clean, sarado. There’s one way in, one way out,” he said.

Reports have it, the casino has already secured a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), but has yet to submit the necessary applications for clearances and permits to the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Wastes scattered along Boracay shores.-Newsline.ph

Last week, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu manifested strong opposition against teh proposed casino saying sunch plan is not suitable for Boracay.

“I never said anything about building anything or even a nipa hut there. What I said is that that island itself is owned by the government,” Duterte said.

“I’ve said it before — agricultural ‘yan, pati forestal. Unless there is a law or a proclamation of the President setting aside anything there, any inch of land maybe, then that could be alright for all those people to come in,” he added.

Continuing his protest over the planned Casino in Boracay, Duterte emphasized “‘Yung mga casino, who owns the casino? Hotels? Big ones? Who owns them? ‘Yung mga mayaman, pati mga dayo. Eh agricultural man [‘yung lupa], eh ‘di ibalik ko sa farmers,” he said.

Duterte added, the government has yet to draw a masterplan for Boracay island.

If there is one thing that Duterte is sure to happen in Boracay Island, that is total rehabilitation.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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