Plans are being drafted for the construction of a casino-resort complex in Boracay island, Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez said on Monday.
In a interview on News To Go, Benitez said the land where the integrated resort-casino would be built has been and identified and bought, but the actual design is not yet finished.
“Hindi pa tapos ‘yung plano, because they want to make sure that it’s environmentally-compliant with the highest standards. Siyempre may mga experts muna na kailangan dalhin muna diyan,” he said.
Benitez is one of the founders of Leisure and Resorts World Corporation (LRWC), the local partner of Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. that intends to build a $500-million integrated casino-resort in Boracay.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has signed the provisional license for the casino under the name of Boracay Philippines Resort and Leisure Corporation—a subsidiary of Galaxy Entertainment.
Benitez said he divested from LRWC ever since he entered politics.
According to the lawmaker, the plan to build a casino-resort complex in Boracay and the casino is “just an amenity.”
“May amenity na casino, and it is really intended for foreign nationals. So, I think, it got involved in the closure of Boracay at parang pinagbintangan na sila talaga ang dahilan which is not really true,” he said.
The island is now closed for a six-month rehabilitation, but critics claim the government decided to shut down the island to make way for the construction of the resort-casino
Benitez noted that it is important to know what would happen to island after its six-month closure.
“Yan nga ang magandang tanong. Sinara natin ang Boracay, anong mangyayari after? I think there should be clear development plan. What does government intend to do after the closure of Boracay?” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself has said no casino will be built in Boracay, pointing out the “deleterious” effects of gambling.
“There will never be one. Even bingohan, saan nakita?” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City when he arrived from Singapore early Sunday morning.
Boracay island has been closed to tourists since April 26 for an environmental cleanup and rehabilitation, and is expected to reopen after six months. —VDS, GMA News