By CNN Philippines Staff
Upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, all casinos in the newly-reopened Boracay Island have ceased operation.
During Friday’s formal reopening of Boracay after a six-month closure, Interior and Local Government Acting Secretary Eduardo Año said Duterte gave him specific instructions earlier this week to ensure that no casinos will operate once the island reopens, even the existing ones.
“There are no casinos now existing in Boracay Island. We intend to implement that regulation continuously,” he said in a media briefing with Boracay Interagency Task Force heads.
Año said they have requested Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to cancel the existing permits granted to casinos.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the permanent and provisional franchises of existing casinos can be revoked at anytime.
“Walang question on that, that can be revoked because that’s a mere privilege extended by the state,” he said.
He said they have recommended to Duterte to issue an executive order to implement a policy that will ban casinos on the island. He said Boracay is not a place for gambling; rather it is supposed to be a family-oriented vacation spot.
Prior to the island’s massive rehabilitation, Duterte in April said there was no plan to put up a casino on Boracay, despite the provisional license granted to a Chinese company to build a $500-million (P26 billion) hotel-casino on the island.
The President on February 9 imposed a temporary halt on the construction of more casinos to avoid an “oversupply” of gaming complexes.