By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is determined to impose a ban on casino operations in Boracay even without issuing an executive order.
In his visit to Boracay Thursday, the President said he could simply issue a verbal order restricting casinos on the popular tourist island amid concerns such gambling facilities become a haven for kidnap-for-ransom activities, illegal drug trade, and other crimes.
“No, I’ll just say that huwag na lang. Anyway, it’s a privilege,” Duterte said when asked by reporters if he will issue an EO on the casino ban.
“Whether I put it in writing or just say it verbally. It is not a requirement that I should really be, you know, writing something,” he added.
In preventing casino businesses in Boracay, the President cited that a survey recently showed that the island residents were opposed to gambling operations.
“It’s the voice of people is the voice of God. If it is the wish of the population here that they do not want a casino, then it will be a no casino (policy),” he added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier recommended the issuance of an executive order to enforce the casino ban on the resort island which has recently been reopened to tourists. The EO could supposedly direct the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to revoke licenses of casino operators and prohibit future projects in Boracay.
The President explained that casinos become “dysfunctional” since crimes like kidnapping and illegal drugs exist in gambling areas. He mentioned an incident in Okada hotel where a foreign guest was held for kidnap-for-ransom by lawless elements.
“A hotel with a casino is not good because there are a lot of things that will happen. It becomes dysfunctional actually. Kidnappings, drugs, and everything,” he said.
“And it is a place where most of the gangster around in this or thereabout or just stay there and commit all crimes of sorts,” he added.