'Overdeveloped’: Boracay resident says casino can be taken elsewhere

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2021 10:17 AM

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MANILA – Boracay residents are not in favor of the building of a casino in the island as this may spawn other developments that threaten its carrying capacity, a group of locals said Tuesday.

“We’re talking about 23 hectares of land that will be occupied, and that’s not good because we have issues in carrying capacity,” Natives of Boracay and Business Stakeholders founder Cris Cahilig said. 

“Imagine the power requirement of the 23-hectare complex and also the sewerage system that is not fully capable yet on the island, as well as we have the building moratorium wherein we don’t allow the constructions anymore because of the overdevelopment.”

Cahilig said that the opening of a casino on the island is good for the economy and will provide employment to locals.

“But Boracay is saturated, Boracay is overdeveloped already. It’s better if [they build] somewhere else,” she added.

She said the building of a casino may in turn require the building of a hydroelectric power plant in mainland Aklan, which will threaten Boracay’s water reservoir.

“If they disallowed other developments to build, and they will allow these 23 hectares to be developed, in effects, what will be? They will allow a lot of developments in effect.”

“It’s very wrong to have Boracay as a sacrificial lamb because this government failed to address COVID-19,” she said.

Cahilig said the best way government can help Boracay’s economy is to vaccinate its residents so the island can reopen again to tourists.

She also backed calls to give Boracay its own quarantine classification separate from that of Aklan province.

“We have our own airport, we have our own port, tourists can go here without going out of the province,” she said.

News of the possible building of a casino in Boracay first surfaced in 2018 after President Duterte ordered the entire island closed to tourists for 6 months. 

Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment and its Filipino partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC), earlier announced the building of a $500-million integrated resort in Boracay.

LRWC claimed that the facility, set to be built in a 23-hectare property, is "not a "mega casino" as detractors claim, but a top leisure destination in Boracay targeting Asian families."

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Duterte, however, said that Boracay should be casino-free when it opens. He added that he will give government-owned lands in the island to farmers.

--ANC, 31 August 2021