BORACAY CASINO Malay officials give nod amid Church protest


By JUN ARIOLO N. AGUIRRE

BORACAY – This island resort is inching closer to having a casino. The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Malay, Aklan endorsed the operation of a casino in the municipality.

Although the municipal council did not specify which part of Malay will the casino operate, it is believed that the move will pave the way for legalized gambling in Boracay, which is under the geopolitical jurisdiction of the town.

Councilor Rowen Aguirre, chairman of the SB Committee on Laws, said the casino proponent presented all the documents needed and these were all legal.

“We were told by the representatives of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) that they need our endorsement. We are only doing our job,” added Aguirre.

The SM member also said that with their endorsement, it is now up to PAGCOR to deal with the possible opposition of some sectors.

It was learned that a certain Base Game Corp. wants to operate a casino in this resort island.

Early this month, the Catholic Church reiterated its opposition to plans of having casinos in Boracay.

Sources at the Diocese of Kalibo disclosed that a PAGCOR representative visited the Kalibo Diocese adjacent to the Kalibo Cathedral to discuss the casino two weeks ago.

“The representative explained to us that they are looking for three possible resorts in Boracay interested in putting up a casino. But the Kalibo Diocese is still vigilant and we will oppose the operation of a casino in the resort island,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.

In the early 1990s, the Kalibo Diocese also led campaign rallies against PAGCOR’s proposal of putting up a casino in Boracay.

Then Jaime Cardinal Sin intervened and asked the state not to allow the establishment of the casino.

Several years after Cardinal Sin’s death, Boracay stakeholders also attempted to push for the operation of a casino but President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reportedly intervened.

“Now, they are back again to push for the casino. No matter what they do, we will still oppose all forms of gambling in Boracay,” said the source, a priest.

It was learned that Kalibo Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo is preparing a pastoral letter condemning the possible operation of casino in this resort island.

Sources said the casino operation will be free against the moratorium of construction issues in this resort island since three large resorts have already expressed its intent of running the casino operation in their respective establishments./PN

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