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Bayan Muna seeks House inquiry on Boracay casino

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Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate has filed a House resolution seeking a congressional investigation on the plan to build a $500-million integrated 23-hectare casino-resort in Boracay while it is closed to tourists.

Under House Resolution 1806, the Makabayan lawmaker asked the House committee on natural resources and committee on ecology to conduct a joint investigation, in aid of legislation, on the closure of establishments and businesses in Boracay and the proposed construction of a $500-million casino and resort in the island.

He said the construction of the casino resort “will only add to the environmental and social woes of the area.”

“The House of Representatives through appropriate and immediate actions, must step in to prevent any more damage to Boracay and to the people relying on the commerce of the island,” Zarate said.

“It is very ironic, even intriguing though, that while the government recommends the island’s closure for months for its supposed rehabilitation, it allowed the entry and construction of a mega casino-resort in Boracay,” he said.

“Through the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the government granted Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) and its listed local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) a gaming license to operate a $500-million integrated 23-hectare casino-resort in Boracay, with the construction to begin soon,” Zarate said.

He acknowledged the importance of the rehabilitation of Boracay’s waters and forests, waste management, and the setting up of environmental safeguards to prevent the deterioration of the island.

“However, there is serious concern that these issues, however valid, may ease local small businesses and jobs of tens of thousands of people to give way to the big-ticket project,” Zarate said.