Boracay Island once again proves battleground for Duterte

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Leisure and Resorts World Corp has stated that its proposed $500m casino resort on Boracay Island, a partnership with Galaxy Entertainment Corp, is “on track to open in 2021.”

The claim was made during the Philippines-based developer’s annual stockholders meeting on 27 July, despite contrary assertions from the office of president Rodrigo Duterte.

“We’ve been working on the initial plans for the resort development,” said VP for legal affairs Katrina Nepomuceno. “The fact remains there is a property and our partner has a license.”

The 23 hectare property, granted a provisional licence by Pagcor in March of this year, has faced continual setbacks, not least the announcement in April that the island would close for a six month period of environmental rehabilitation.

“I don’t think any private entity should test the political will of the president on the issue of casinos on Boracay,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque, responding to the statement in a 30 July press briefing.

“The president has said ‘no,’ and I would hope they will respect that.”

On 11 April, Pagcor also stated that the provisional licence granted to Galaxy is “only the start of a very long and tedious process of compliance.

However, Nepomuceno updated investors in the Barangay Manoc-Manoc site that construction “has not been delayed by closure of the island.”

“Where am I getting the confidence? Because the president has also said he wants to maintain Boracay as a prime tourist destination aside from the fact that he also talked about agrarian reform.”

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