Chinese casino in Boracay will never happen – Palace

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Boracay Island (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday denied reports the construction of the Chinese casino in Boracay will push through.

"I don't think any private entity should test the political will of the President on the issue of casinos on Boracay. The President has said 'no' and I would hope they will respect that," he said in a media briefing.

Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC), the local partner of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group, was quoted by the media on Friday saying the construction of the casino is still on track despite the six-month rehabilitation and closure of the island. LRWC vice president for legal affairs Katrina Nepomuceno said they have finished what was needed to be done prior to the island's closure on April 26.

A month before Boracay's closure, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) on March 21 gave a provisional license to Galaxy to build a multimillion-dollar hotel-casino. But Roque said the construction of the $500-million or P26-billion hotel-casino on the world-renowned island will never happen.

"The provisional license is not a license itself. It is conditional. It is provisional. It is subject to the happening of conditions, which will never be fulfilled because the President said he will not allow it," Roque said.

There has been confusion on its construction as the operators claim it will push through, but environment officials and even President Rodrigo Duterte insisted it will not continue.

Boracay is set to re-open on October 26 after cleaning and rehabilitation efforts.

Duterte on February 9 imposed a temporary halt on the construction of more casinos to avoid an "oversupply" of gaming complexes.