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Thursday, October 25, 2018

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“No Casino” Policy for Boracay Needs Executive Order, Department of Justice

Casino News Daily
“No Casino” Policy for Boracay Needs Executive Order, Department of Justice

The Philippines’ Department of Justice has said that in order to enforce his “no casino” policy on Boracay Island, president Rodrigo Duterte should issue an executive order. Such an act will be the fastest and most efficient method for halting the casino operations on the island, which reopens for foreign tourists on Friday.

Representatives of most public institutions and local authorities seem to be in line with the Duterte’s idea of no more casinos on Boracay. Following a six-month shut-down for an environmental clean-up and rehabilitation, the island is finally reopening this week. Authorities have set new rules regarding waste disposal, watersports that may harm the ecosystem, smoking and drinking. Being a vocal opponent of gambling, President Duterte also said that the island should be “free of casinos” when it opens.

Earlier this week, the local gambling regulator PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) was said to have been urged to cancel the existing casino licenses and to stop issuing new ones. The request had come, according to media reports, from the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, a body that was specifically created for the purpose of assessing the environmental damage on the island and devising strategies to address the problem. Local newspaper The Philippines Star said that the regulator has made a decision to immediately suspend all gambling licenses on Boracay.

Now, it is possible that such actions may not be entirely legal. In a letter published Thursday, the Department of Justice recommends that President Rodrigo Duterte issues an executive order, that would allow him to stop the casino operations on the island.

Legal Repercussions

According to the Department of Justice, Duterte’s “no casino” policy has to be implemented carefully and through a presidential executive order. In a recommendation letter dated from October 8, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra writes that the President has the authority to limit casino operations on the island. The letter is an eight-page legal opinion that comes in a response to a query by the Department of Tourism, which is concerned about possible legal repercussions resulting from the revocation of casino licenses.

In the legal opinion, Guevarra explains that the President may direct the PAGCOR by an executive order to revoke the licenses already granted and to prohibit the issuing of new permits. He also points out that the provisional licenses granted by the regulator are not contracts and are, therefore, not legally binding for the government. Casino licenses can, then, be “granted, revoked” or their renewal withheld by the regulatory body instantly.

Meanwhile, Macau-based casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group is planning to build a large integrated casino resort on Boracay. It was granted a casino license just a month before the temporary closure of the island. Galaxy Chairman Lui Che Woo explained that the casino facility would be just a small part of the complex and that the complex would, in fact, focus on the leisure and entertainment offerings.

The post “No Casino” Policy for Boracay Needs Executive Order, Department of Justice appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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