The Philippine leader, President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured in a file photo) has authorised resumption of plans for a casino development on popular holiday island of Boracay, a spokesperson confirmed on Saturday.
“The President has given his go-signal allowing the operation of a casino in Boracay,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement, carried by the Philippine News Agency.
“Prior to this directive, casino establishments have not been operating in the island,” added Mr Roque, as quoted by the government-run news agency.
President Duterte had mentioned in a public address on Thursday that he would encourage casino development on Boracay, a shift from his previous declared stance against such projects there.
Mr Roque stated such development would be part of the government’s “revenue-generating efforts” to produce funds for response efforts against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Philippines.
“Casino operations in Boracay shall follow restrictions such as the observance of safety and health protocols imposed in view of the current Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring safeguards to keep children or minors away from gambling activities,” Roque said.
In late June, Philippine media reported that the terms of reference in an approved bill for a planned Boracay Island Development Authority, envisaged the possibility of gaming, amusement and recreational facilities operating on the holiday island.
GGRAsia has approached Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, asking for its comment on the lifting of the ban on casinos for Boracay.
The company had previously been announced as partner with Philippine group Leisure and Resorts World Corp, on a proposed scheme there.
In late 2019, Leisure and Resorts World said it was abandoning plans for a US$500-million casino investment on Boracay.
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