In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured) has reportedly declared that he does not need to issue an executive order so as to maintain his casino prohibition for the small island of Boracay.
Ban followed six-month closure:
According to a report from GGRAsia citing earlier pieces from the state-run Philippine News Agency, the 73-year-old shut the 2,550-acre island to all tourists and developers for six months from the end of April so that its sewerage infrastructure could be upgraded. This closure was soon followed by a proclamation from the controversial leader that no casinos would subsequently be allowed because the whole island located some 196 miles south of Manila was to be designated as a ‘land reform area’ post-cleanup with local farmers being gifted their own plots.
Justice Secretary responds:
GGRAsia reported that Boracay was reopened to tourists last month while Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra later responded to questions about the ban by suggesting that it could only be enforced long-term with the issuance of an executive order.
However, Duterte proclaimed during a recent visit to the Western Visayas island that there was no need that he ‘should really be writing something’ as he had bowed to local pressure and instructed Roy Cimatu, Philippines Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, and this official’s counterpart at the Department of Interior and Local Government, Eduardo Ano, to maintain the Boracay casino prohibition.
Guevarra reportedly replied by stating that an executive order was not necessary to ban casinos from opening on Boracay short-term but that such a move would assist government agencies in formulating an enduring and official roadmap for future projects.
Guevarra reportedly stated…
“The President has power and tools to stop casino operations in Boracay. The only advantage of an executive order is that it sets long-term policy and provides formal framework for all governmental actions on the matter.”
Boracay bad news:
The source further reported that the news will not have been welcomed by Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited as Duterte’s prohibition has scuppered its plan to bring a $500 million integrated casino resort to Boracay. The Hong Kong-listed operator purportedly received a license for the project from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation in March and had wanted to begin construction in partnership with local firm Leisure and Resorts World Corporation later this year in hopes of being able to admit its first guests in 2021.