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DOJ endorses ‘no casino policy’ in Boracay

By: - Reporter / @CMarquezINQ
/ 02:02 PM October 26, 2018

The Department of Justice on Friday recommended the issuance of an executive order (EO) to ban casinos and gambling activities in the country’s top tourist destination, Boracay.

In a press conference with the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra took issue with the gambling activities by tourists, noting that Boracay is a “family-oriented” place.

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“Ang konsepto ng Boracay is a family-oriented activity and not meant for foreigners or tourists who will come to Boracay not to enjoy the place but to engage in gambling so that is the main idea there why we recommended the issuance of the executive order,” Guevarra said.

(The concept of Boracay is a family-oriented activity and not meant for foreigners or tourists who will come to Boracay not to enjoy the place but to engage in gambling so that is the main idea there why we recommended the issuance of the executive order.)

He added that the EO was meant to “guide not only the current administration but also for a longer term.”

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said they requested the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to remove the permits of existing casinos in the resort island.

“We requested Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo to cancel the permit of the franchise of these existing casinos fortunately last Oct. 22, she issued desist order to stop the Casino Allied Holdings, Inc. so I sent people there and I know naka-padlock na yung casino. So we can say to all of you, no casino is now existing in Boracay island and we intend to of implemented that regulation continuously,” Año said.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat reiterated that the policy was requested by President Rodrigo Duterte in a Cabinet meeting.

“In one Cabinet meeting, it was agreed that the President already said that there will be no casino or gambling. Even the existing ones before Boracay opened, there will be no casinos allowed. It will not be allowed to open,” she said.

In a previous report by the Inquirer, the DOJ has issued a legal opinion last Oct. 8, saying the President can implement a “no casino policy” without needing congressional action.

It added that the President may also order Pagcor to cancel existing casino licenses for Boracay and refuse to grant new ones.

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READ Boracay tamed after radical makeover

Boracay was closed in April for rehabilitation after the President called the island a “cesspool” due to its problematic sewage problems and other environmental and zoning issues. The resort island’s soft opening was on Friday (Oct. 26).

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