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‘Curious’ Cimatu barred from entering Boracay casino site

/ 10:14 PM April 28, 2018

BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Friday visited the site of a proposed mega-casino by a Macau-based company on this island, but he was barred entry by the guards there.

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“Nakita ko lang naman for the sake of curiosity, just in case may matangap akong mga request later on. Wala pa naman. Merong matangap na they have plans of building. Wala pa naman akong natanggap,” Cimatu told INQUIRER.net in an interview.

Cimatu was here to oversee the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) projects and activities as part of the interagency task force to rehabilitate Boracay.

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Boracay’s six-month clean up shutdown started on April 26.

“I went around. Tinignan ko rin from the dagat kung ano ang situation. Ang ano doon ay barren. Vegetation lang naman ang rocky portions lang, rocks,” Cimatu said.

Roy Cimatu

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu holds a press briefing on Friday, April 27, 2018, after visiting several areas around Boracay after the implementation of the six-month closure, including the area where the Galaxy casino is expected to be built on. With him are Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr., Undersecretary Miguel Cuna, among others (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Last March, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) granted a provisional license to Galaxy Entertainment Group for a $500-millon integrated casino resort project on the resort-island.

The environment secretary was followed by a team from GMA 7 to the site.

According to a report on “24 Oras,” Cimatu attempted to enter the property but was barred by security guards.

No request for ECC

Cimatu said the Galaxy group and its local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp. had not yet filed a request for an environment compliance certificate (ECC).

The Department of Tourism announced last week that Galaxy was looking for another location for the mega-casino project.

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But LWRC denied having abandoned its plans and maintained that no change in plans was communicated to Pagcor.

“Ipapatupad ko ang proseso talaga which is the ECC ay may mga conditions for the approval. Regarding bearing and related to potential environmental problems and risk of granting or rejecting itong ganitong klaseng requests,” he said.

The secretary had earlier expressed disapproval of the project.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered Boracay closed, was also against the casino-resort project, saying Filipinos won’t gain anything from it. /atm

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TAGS: Boracay casino, Boracay cleanup, Boracay closure, DENR, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Roy Cimatu
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