The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has revealed that he had been against building of a Boracay casino. During a press conference which took place in Davao City, President Duterte said that he was unaware of any plans for casino construction in the island.
Earlier this year, information about a planned gambling expansion in the region emerged, with local media reporting that the Government of the town of Malay approved the $500-million casino project back in 2017 without even having a public consultation first. According to him, a casino built in Boracay would not be beneficial in any way for local residents.
The President of the Philippines further said that he intended to sign a proclamation under which Boracay would be provided with a state of calamity in order for the region to be given financial help. He said that an amount of about PHP2 billion could be made available for the poor citizens of the country, but no money would be spent at local hotel owners, inns or motels.
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Duterte also described the island of Boracay as a “land reform area” and pledged to give it to local farmers, saying that according to the law, the island is mostly comprised of forest and agricultural land.
Environmental Cleanup Starting April 26th
The statement of President Duterte comes at a moment when Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group and its domestic-market partner AB Leisure Exponent Inc. revealed plans for building a multi-million integrated casino resort in the island of Boracay. In mid-March, the local gambling regulatory body – PAGCOR – gave a provisional casino license to the two operators.
Also in March, the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed that the proposed integrated casino project is not in line with the decision of local authorities to close the island for an environmental cleanup that had been announced earlier.
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As previously reported by Casino News Daily, according to local officials, the closure of the island was imminent due to environmental concerns. Despite the fact that Galaxy Entertainment Group and its Philippine partner have already received a casino license from the country’s gambling regulator, they would now have to apply for a special environmental compliance certificate (ECC) in order to be given the green light to start construction works.
Last week, it also became clear that the Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu offered a flat “no” in terms of a casino development in the region. In Mr. Cimatu personal opinion, there are currently many other places that could host a casino venue.
The Environment Secretary said he is against the casino in the popular beach destination, which is set to close for a period of six months starting April 26th. The environmental cleanup start date was confirmed by President Duterte, who said that all accommodation facilities and tourist attractions are to be closed for the above-mentioned period.