MANILA- Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu rejected on Friday the planned construction of a casino-resort on Boracay island.
Cimatu responded with a "no" when asked by reporters on whether he favors the project.
“Marami namang ibang lugar diyan,” he said, noting the pending results of a environmental study on Boracay’s capacity.
Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment and its Filipino partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp., have been granted a provisional license to build the $500-million integrated casino-resort on a 23-hectare property.
The developers said they will begin construction next year.
During Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of 3 government agencies to close Boracay to tourists starting April 26.
Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones had also said that the agencies involved in the Boracay shutdown have not received any requests for permits.
Malacañang earlier defended the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (PAGCOR) approval of the construction of the casino-resort in the top tourist spot.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the planned casino construction will surely not skirt its obligation to have its own water treatment facility, a problem that the government has cited in the degradation of Boracay island.
“An establishment as big as this casino will probably be required to have not just an STP (sewage treatment plant) but a water recycling treatment facility,” Roque said.
“The size will not matter for as long as the necessary infrastructures are there," he added.
-report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News