Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured in a file photo) has said there is no need for him to issue an executive order to ban casinos on the central Philippine beach resort island of Boracay, according to reports from a state-run news agency.
The latest development in the moves to ban gaming from the recently spruced up holiday island appears to contradict the initial advice of Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. He had suggested an executive order was required.
The Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported on Thursday that Mr Duterte said during a visit to the island there was no requirement that he “should really be writing something”. Mr Duterte said he had instructed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to ensure that no casinos would be allowed on Boracay because residents were against casinos.
In a second report from the government-run news agency published on Friday, PNA reported that the justice secretary stated Mr Duterte had full authority to ban casinos on Boracay without issuing an executive order. “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,” Mr Guevarra was quoted as saying.
Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd announced in March that the Philippine gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, or Pagcor, had given it a licence for a casino on Boracay.
Galaxy Entertainment had said it intended to build a US$500-million casino resort on the island in partnership with Leisure and Resorts World Corp subsidiary AB Leisure Exponent Inc.
The Philippine authorities reopened Boracay to tourists last month, having closed it for six months on Mr Duterte’s orders, apparently to clean up the island. Issues reportedly addressed included heavy pollution by sewage.
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