DOT chief says permit to operate by 3 existing casinos in Boracay revoked; calls attention of other major destinations
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said on Friday licenses of three casinos operating in Boracay in Malay, Aklan have been revoked.
In a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines in Makati City, the Department of Tourism chief said the revocation of permits to operate of casinos in the island was in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte's order that he did not want gambling in Boracay.
"The President's stand remains that gambling shall be prohibited in the island. So, there will be no casinos on the island," she said.
"You may ask. There are already three existing casinos in Boracay and they will not be allowed to open...and the Pagcor (Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp.) has already revoked their licenses," Puyat added.
The Daily Manila Shimbun tried to confirm with a Pagcor official handling the media regarding the revocation of permits of the three casinos. The official said she would still check.
The interagency task force, which included the DOT, has been conducting a dry run for the soft opening of Boracay to the tourists on October 26.
Puyat said the government would prohibit smoking and drinking in public places in the island.
"We will also ban open fires and use of kerosene gas or fuel on the beach area. We will also strictly enforce the 25-plus-5-meter easement for all buildings and establishments in the island," she said.
Tables, chairs, and tents would not also be allowed on the white beach, she added.
Puyat said she sent letters to some local government units giving "warning or gentle reminder" that they have to follow all ordinances and laws to prevent the closure of their tourist destinations also.
She said letters were sent to El Nido in Palawan, Panglao in Bohol, Oslob in Cebu, La Union, and Baguio City.
Puyat said it is the President's order to make sure that the other tourist destinations practice sustainable tourism.
Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay for six months starting April in order for the island to be rehabilitated after likening it to a "cesspool."
Puyat said the opening of Boracay on October 26 would be the first phase as only limited establishments, which are 100 percent compliant with the laws, would be opened.
As of Friday, only 68 accredited establishments, with available rooms of 3,519, have been fully compliant. Celerina Monte/DMS