In the Philippines, the billionaire business magnate behind the plan to build a $337.2 million integrated casino resort on the central island of Cebu is reportedly persevering with the enterprise despite January’s issuance of a partial moratorium by President, Rodrigo Duterte.

Ground-breaking planned for Saturday:

According to a Monday report from The Philippine Star newspaper, John Gokongwei (pictured) is planning to hold a ground-breaking ceremony for his envisioned Isla Dela Victoria development on Saturday. The project from his Universal Hotels and Resorts Incorporated vehicle is due to occupy a 19.7-acre plot of reclaimed land just south of Cebu City and eventually feature a large casino and a trio of hotels alongside a shopping mall, a convention center and multiple restaurants and bars.

Reportedly the second wealthiest man in the Philippines thanks to a net worth of approximately $5.8 billion, Gokongwei submitted his plan for the Isla Dela Victoria development to local authorities in March and now hopes to begin welcoming guests to the new venue in just over three years’ time.

Project disregards casino freeze:

Francisco ‘Bimbo’ Fernandez, Mayoral Executive Assistant for Cebu City, told The Philippines Star that 92-year-old Gokongwei is planning to attend the August 25 ground-breaking ceremony despite Duterte’s earlier proclamation that all future such venues should be confined to the 1,977-acre Entertainment City district of Manila.

Fernandez to The Philippine Star…

“He wants to be here at the groundbreaking. They’re in a hurry to do it. They already want to start construction and they’re going to apply for the permit and such.”

Local mayor voices his support:

Tomas Osmena, Mayor for Cebu City, earlier told the newspaper that he is in favor of building the Isla Dela Victoria development, which has been named after a local fisherman who died while protecting the area’s waters from dynamite fisherman, because it is due to create around 5,000 jobs including positions in security and construction.

Osmena to The Philippine Star…

“John Gokongwei, who is not just a self-made billionaire but also a fellow Cebuano, has agreed to invest $337.2 million for an 861,112 sq ft world-class integrated development that includes restaurants, bars, a mall, convention center, casino, park, theater and no less than three hotels.”