Duterte backs six-month Boracay shutdown

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2018 12:21 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2018 01:50 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he is amenable to a six-month closure of Boracay to allow government to rehabilitate the famous island.

Duterte said Department of Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año told him that the island would need to be closed for six months to rehabilitate it. 

“Boracay, he thinks, will take a little bit longer [to rehabilitate]. And I answered him. Sabi ko, ‘General, nandiyan ka, I placed you there. Whatever is your decision, I will support you. Bahala ka. You just make the recommendation. And if I find everything that is alright and in consonance with the... derecho na,’” Duterte said in a speech during the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

“Sabi niya it will take about something like six months. Sabi ko, ‘then do it.’”

Año, along with Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier recommended that Boracay be closed for a maximum of one year, effective one month after its declaration.

CASINO IN BORACAY

As this developed, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp Chairperson Andrea Domingo confirmed that Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment and its Filipino partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp, will secure a provisional license for the construction of a $500 million resort in Boracay.

Domingo said President Rodrigo Duterte met with Galaxy executives and "emphasized" to them the need to protect the environment and shun corruption.

"These things, they assured the President, they will guard the environment," Domingo said.

The planned casino has been met with criticism as it runs counter to a moratorium imposed by the President on the entry and creation of new casinos.

Former lawmaker and Customs chief Ruffy Biazon said establishing a casino in Boracay is a “bad idea.”

“The appeal of Boracay is that it’s a beach and nature destination. It grew without the need for a casino to attract visitors. I’ve said it before, a casino in Boracay is a bad idea,” Biazon said on Twitter.