House probe sought on Boracay closure

BAYAN Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate has asked the House of Representatives to investigate, through the committee on natural resources and committee on ecology, the closure of establishments on Boracay Island and the impending construction of a $550 million casino-resort there.

In the resolution, Zarate said it is very "ironic" and "intriguing" that while the government recommends the closure of establishments for months to rehabilitate Boracay it allows the construction of a mega casino-resort.

"Allowing the entry of this mega-casino resort is projected to add more burden to the island and its people and environment," said Zarate.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., however, has clarified that construction activities will not be allowed on the island during the six-month period of rehabilitation effective April 26.

Zarate said "the rehabilitation of Boracay’s waters and forests, waste management, and the setting up of environmental safeguards to prevent the deterioration of the island (are) long overdue."

Last week, the President, acting on the recommendation of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered the closure of establishments and businesses in Boracay for six months starting on April 26.

On Monday, April 9, the President said he is against the building of a casino in Boracay.

He said there is no plan to build a casino there, even as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. earlier announced that it signed a contract with the Galaxy Macau's Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner, AB Leisure Exponent Inc., for the construction of the mega casino.

The President said Filipinos would not gain anything from a casino. He said he will give the island instead to the farmers, following its rehabilitation. (SunStar Philippines)


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