Monday, March 26, 2018

Local Government Approves Boracay Casino without Public Input

Casino News Daily
Local Government Approves Boracay Casino without Public Input

The government of the town of Malay approved last year the $500-million project for a casino resort on the Boracay Island without any prior public consultation, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.

The town is part of the Aklan Municipality which includes Boracay, as well. It was announced earlier this month that Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. were given the green light to build a half a billion dollar integrated resort on the popular tourism hub. The two companies received a provisional casino license from the Philippine gambling regulator – PAGCOR – last week.

Abram Sualog, Vice Mayor of Malay, told local media that the municipal council approved the casino plan last year after Mayor Ciceron Cawaling presented town councilors with a letter from the developer.

Mr. Sualog went on to say that the public was not asked for input on the project as one of the conditions under which the proposal was approved was that no residents would be allowed to gamble at the casino, once built. There are four foreigners-only casinos in the region at present.

Following the approval of Galaxy’s plan, the Malay town council placed a moratorium on the further construction of casinos in the area to prevent more such venues from being built.

Growing Opposition to the Project

As reported by local media, the major casino plan has not been received well by everyone. The Aklan Catholic Church and a number of Boracay residents have voiced their opposition to the integrated resort scheme, citing concerns over the social impact an establishment of this kind would have on the island as well as environmental concerns.

The local Boracay Foundation has been among the environmental groups to oppose the plan, arguing that the island is already successfully promoted as a tourist-friendly destination with its white-sand beaches, water attractions, and nightlife entertainment and does not need casino gambling to boost its tourism.

A top Philippine architect, in recent interview for local news channel ANC, explained that the construction of a casino resort on the island’s waterfront would damage the quality of the sand in the area surrounding the property. Mr. Felino Palafox went on to say that Boracay was the wrong place for a property of this kind and that it was the wrong time for its development.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed last week that Boracay would be closed for a period of between six months and a year for an environmental cleanup, after the House Committee on Tourism recommended immediate actions to prevent the island from an environmental catastrophe.

The cleanup would include measures that would end the current dumping of wastewater on Boracay’s beaches and reduction of the levels of coliform infiltration in beach water.

In a series of developments late last week, three government agencies recommended that the island be shuttered for six months starting April 26. President Duterte is yet to decide on and announce the exact date of closure.

The post Local Government Approves Boracay Casino without Public Input appeared first on Casino News Daily.


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