Amid opposition from residents in Boracay island and the country's House Deputy speaker, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) said on Monday that the development of the casinos by Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group Inc, and Macau’s Galaxy Group is expected to attract high-end tourists and players and generate thousands of jobs when they open.
PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo said that Alliance Global Group Inc.’s Megaworld USD $500 million development is expected to generate around 10,000 jobs and bring in 2,500-3,000 foreign tourists a week, adding that the targeted clientele consists mainly of passengers from Genting Cruises.
Domingo said: “If you saw the development in these two areas, you would imagine that they are really maybe a hundred times better than the small little stalls that actually overcrowd the main island right after the beaches.”
Regarding the opposition from residents who fear that the casino would have a negative impact on the environment, Domingo commented that the casino operators would respect environmental laws, for no company would be interested in investing on the island only to have garbage ruin the area, reports ABS-CBN News.
“I think those fears are unfounded,” Domingo said.
In addition, House Deputy Speaker Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. urged President Rodrigo Duterte last week to reconsider his directive to allow casino operations in Boracay and protect the “crown jewel of Philippine tourism” instead, Manila Bulletin reports.
Abante said in a letter to the President on September 3 that while he recognizes the need for the government to raise revenues amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, opening the popular tourist destination to casinos is not the solution. The House leader appealed to the President to save Boracay again by keeping it free of gambling activities.
The President’s current position marks a change from his earlier stance on the subject, in 2018, Duterte imposed a moratorium on casino development, however, his opinion has shifted since, as the country seeks funds to come back from the pandemic.