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GERI to go ahead with Boracay casino project despite opposition

Billionaire businessman Andrew Tan says his company’s casino project in Boracay is going ahead, despite opposition from different groups on the island.

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Tan’s Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. (GERI) will go ahead with the project in Boracay Newcoast, the businessman announced in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

“We already have several hotels there and we are still building more,” said Tan. “There is also a golf course, the only one in the entire Boracay Island. We are very hopeful that the tourism industry in this island will recover fast after the pandemic.”

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation announced last month that President Rodrigo Duterte - who had previously banned casinos on the island - had given his approval to two proposals to open casinos. The change comes amid a lack of money due to the pandemic, with Duterte saying: “Wherever we can find the money, I will do it. If it’s in gambling, so be it.”

The two proposals are GERI’s facility in Boracay Newcoast, and Galaxy Entertainment Group’s potential casino resort merger with Leisure and Resorts World Corp.

There has, however, been growing concern from local businessmen and environmental activists about opening such a facility in Boracay, with one group, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, saying: “But how can casinos contribute to economic recovery in the midst of a pandemic if tourist visitation is expected to remain restricted?

“With daily positive cases exceeding 20,000 and insufficient mass testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment, we cannot anticipate these entertainment facilities to remain safe and profitable anytime in the near future.

“We are concerned that the inflow of environmentally damaging but economically infeasible large-scale projects such as casinos, infrastructure, and mining during Mr. Duterte's last year might fill up political campaign purses.”


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