Duterte: No need for EO to ban casinos in Boracay

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he does not need to issue an executive order (EO) to ban casinos in Boracay.

"No, I'll just say that huwag na lang. Anyway, it's a privilege whether I put it in writing or just say it verbally," he said after he distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to the Ati in Boracay.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said he recommended to Duterte to issue an executive order to implement a policy that will ban casinos on the island.

Duterte stressed he does not want to issue new permits for casinos, especially in Boracay, because residents are also against it.

He said casinos are being used by erring police officers, money lenders, and kidnappers for crimes.

"Somebody will go there just to take hostage of the occupant, ask something if he has money, then they will just call the family... If I were the owner of the hotel, I should just be speculating of what will happen to me if I defy the government. There's going to be no gambling and that's it," he said.

During the reopening of Boracay on October 26, Interior and Local Government Acting Secretary Eduardo Año said all casinos in the newly-rehabilitated island have ceased operation.

Related: No more casinos operating in rehabilitated Boracay – DILG

Año said they have requested Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to cancel the existing permits granted to casinos.

Prior to the island's massive rehabilitation, Duterte in April said there was no plan to put up a casino on Boracay, despite the provisional license granted to a Chinese company to build a $500-million (P26 billion) hotel-casino on the island.

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