Philippines’ Govt & GEG Send Mix Messages On Boracay Casino

Philippines’ Govt & GEG Send Mix Messages On Boracay Casino July 30, 2018 July 30, 2018 Paul Butcher
 General July 30, 2018 by Paul Butcher

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has remained firm in his stand to ban casino resorts from operating in Boracay – this was confirmed once again by the country’s Department of Tourism (DOT) over the weekend.

Tourism Chief Bernadette Fatima Romulo Puyat clarified the issue with the President on July 22 and stated that that resorts and hotels without DOT accreditation will not be allowed to reopen.

The announcement was made in response to Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) statement earlier on Friday confirming its plans to proceed with its Boracay casino resort.

GEG Insists Boracay Casino Project Still On Track

Macau’s GEG announced in March that it planned to develop a casino resort on the island. The company received a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for the project. The company’s local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) created a controversy on July 22 when they announced that the $300 million Boracay casino resort is moving forward and will be completed by 2021, despite the island’s closure.

LRWC Vice President for Legal Affairs Katrina Nepomuceno said they are currently in talks with GEG and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as other government departments in the country on recent developments. She is confident the planned casino complies with legal requirements and will help promote the island as a top tourist destination.

A number of casinos were already operating in Boracay prior to its closure, such as the casino at Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center, and another one at the Movenpick Resort and Spa. Megaworld Corporation’s Savoy Hotel as well as Archibald Po of Hotel Soffia also acquired licenses from Pagcor to develop casino resorts on the island.


One-Stop Shop Set Up for Faster License Transactions

Meanwhile, a one-stop shop was recently set up for Boracay stakeholders for the faster processing of DOT accreditation, local permits, business licenses, and environmental and compliance certificate (ECC). This was made possible by the efforts of the inter-agency Task Force Boracay.

The task force came up with the resolution after the DENR cancelled the ECCs of all resorts on the island. The decision was not relayed to DOT and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), leaving industry stakeholders stunned.

The country’s top island destination is currently closed in order to give way for a 6-month rehabilitation and redevelopment program. The closure, which started April of this year, was ordered by President Duterte after photos surfaced of pollution and dirt on the island. Boracay is set to reopen on October 26 and efforts will continue to develop and promote the island.

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