President Rodrigo Duterte has asserted that there is no need for him to issue an executive order to ban casinos on the central Philippine resort island of Boracay.
The decision contradicts an earlier statement by Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra who had previously suggested that an executive order would be necessary.
However, a later news report on 9 November indicated that Guevarra has since revised this view. “The president has power and tools to stop casino operations in Boracay. The only advantage of an executive order is that it sets long-term policy and provides formal framework for all governmental actions on the matter,” Guevarra was quoted as saying.
During a recent visit to the island, Duterte clarified there was no requirement that he “should really be writing something” to enact the ban. Citing local opposition, he added that he had instructed Environment secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior and Local Government secretary Eduardo Año to ensure that no casinos would be allowed on Boracay.
Galaxy Entertainment Group announced in March that the nation regulator Pagcor had issued it a licence for a $500m casino resort on the island, in partnership with Leisure and Resorts World Corp.
However in October, Pagcor received an official request from the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to cancel the licences of all casino operators on the island after it was reopened to tourists.
“In view of the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that no casino shall be allowed in Boracay Island, and in the light of the mandate given to it through Executive Order No. 5, Series of 2018, the [BIATF] requests that any and all gaming franchise/s and/or provisional license/s in Boracay Island shall be cancelled by your good office,” the BIATF stated in a letter to Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo.