New Boracay casino-resort construction set in 2019

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2018 11:53 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2018 12:09 PM

MANILA - Construction on a new casino-resort in Boracay will start next year, its developers said Wednesday, as they signed a provisional license with the gaming regulator.

Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment and its Filipino partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp, are building a $500 million integrated resort on a 23-hectare property.

The government is planning a closure of Boracay to tourists this year to give way to a massive cleanup. President Rodrigo Duterte had likened the pollution to a "cesspool."

Construction will take 3 years and will generate "hundreds of jobs," Galaxy vice chairman Francis Lui said. The joint venture expects $100 million in gaming revenues from the project once it is operational, he said.

"What excited us, one of the reasons, has to be the new airport which has been built last year, giving direct access to international market to bring in some high-end customers," Lui said.

Galaxy had consulted PAGCOR on the project as early as July last year, said Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp chairperson Andrea Domingo.

Domingo said the integrated resort would be built on "raw land." She earlier said that Galaxy had assured Duterte during a recent meeting that the company would preserve the environment.

"I don't think they would risk losing that investment by dumping filth in front of their property," she said.

Leisure and Resorts World founder Alfredo Benitez, an incumbent congressman, said he expected Galaxy to preserve the environment like it did in its projects in Macau and Hong Kong.