Kalibo bishop opposes new plans for casino in Boracay

Kalibo, Aklan Bishop Jose Romeo Lazo has come out against revived plans to establish a casino on the world famous island resort of Boracay.

“Let me be clear. I have opposed and will continue to oppose casino gambling. I will not cooperate with any effort to establish casino gaming in Boracay,” Lazo said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

The Kalibo prelate was reacting to the reported construction of a casino inside the posh Fairways and Bluewater Resort at the northern end of the 1,000- hectare island resort.

Lazo said he is worried a casino, with unlimited jackpots, would be a greater harm to his flock. Besides, he said, the tourism industry on the island has long been standing even without a casino.

“Boracay is a natural treasure of Aklanons and the Filipino people. We are for a family-oriented and wholesome island resort and we therefore want a drug-free and gambling- free Boracay,” he said.

He urged his parishioners and religious organizations “to unite, pray, reflect and act to express your stand and sentiments against gambling in Boracay.”

Last month, Lazo sent a letter of protest to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the planned casino but he has not receive any reply.

“Because Pagcor is under the authority of the President, the ace is still in Arroyo’s hands. I hope she will come out with a favorable response,” said Lazo.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) first pushed the plan of a casino complex in 2003 but President Arroyo ordered it shelved following a public protest. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)


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