Palace slaps down Boracay casino firm: The president has said NO!

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Boracay casino
Boracay casino: A beach on Boracay Island and the Galaxy Entertainment Casino in Macau.

President Duterte has renewed his vow that he won’t allow a casino to be built on Boracay — despite recent comments by Chinese developers.

On Friday (July 27), we reported that Leisure and Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) — the local partner of Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd — were confident that the plan for a 23-hectare casino-resort complex was still on track.

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Speaking at the company’s annual stockholding meeting in Pasay City, LRWC’s vice president for legal affairs Katrina Nepomuceno said: “The plan has not been delayed by the closure of the island.

“We are not really affected by the island’s closure because we were able to finish what we need to do prior to the closing.”

The firm had already purchased a 23-hectare site in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, before the island was closed to tourists on April 26 for ‘environmental rehabilitation’.

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“Basically, right now we’ve been working on the initial plans for the resort development. So continuously we’ve been discussing with Galaxy Entertainment Group, with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and other government agencies,” she added.

She also said that the consortium were confident they would still hit their 2021 deadline for completion. 

However, today (Monday, July 30) presidential spokesman Harry Roque hit back, saying: “I don’t think any private entity should test the political will of the president on the issue of casinos in Boracay.

“The president has said ‘no’, and I would hope they would respect that as part of executive power.”

As we reported in March, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has issued a provisional gaming licence for the consortium’s proposed gambling resort in the island’s Barangay Manoc-Manoc.

However, Roque said today that the gaming licence would not be a green light to proceed while the proposals were still being opposed by the president. 

“Noting that the provisional licence is not a licence itself; it is conditional; it is provisional; it is subject to the happening of conditions which will never be fulfilled because the president has said he will not allow it,” he added.

The president has previously made it clear that no casino would be constructed on the island because he was placing it under land reform, citing a Supreme Court decision of 2008 that declared the island — which it classified as forested and agricultural — as state-owned.  

A ‘cleaner, greener’ Boracay is due to reopen to tourists on October 26.

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