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Rody wants Boracay casinos built

We don’t have money now and I will get money wherever I can get money. If it will be from gambling, so be it.



(File photo/AFP)

Making a U-turn from his earlier stand against casinos, President Rodrigo Duterte is now considering allowing gaming sites even in the world-famous Boracay Island for additional government revenue.

He is even ready to defend his change of heart.

“Now if you say, ‘Duterte, I thought you hated gambling. Now you want a gambling house in Boracay? You’re encouraging the tourists.’ Forgive me for the contradiction,” Duterte said during his second taped briefing aired on a government television channel.

“We don’t have money now and I will get money wherever I can get money. If it will be from gambling, so be it,” he added.

In 2018, Duterte made a clear stand against gambling in the Philippines after Nayong Pilipino Foundation Inc. (NPFI) granted a gaming franchise to the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner, AB Leisure Exponent Inc., to set up a base in the country.

That botched grant of a provisional license by NPFI to Hong Kong-listed Landing International Development Ltd. was worth $1.5 billion.

In the same speech, Duterte claimed that one of the housing developments in Boracay is operated by the family of former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio.

“You know the island of Boracay is a forestal land. (It) should not have residential houses there, but one of them is (owned by) the family of Justice Carpio,” he said.

“So, when I found out that there were many subdivisions built behind the beach, I called [Agrarian Reform Secretary] Castriciones: ‘Go there and check,’” he added.

Duterte said he ordered the Agrarian Reform Secretary to declare the land as agricultural so he can distribute the land titles to its tillers.

Carpio, one of the president’s staunchest critics, has yet to comment on the president’s latest claim against him.

The retired justice, who has been in a series of word wars with the president particularly on the West Philippine Sea issue, formed a political coalition called 1Sambayan, which aims to form a single opposition ticket for the 2022 national elections.