President Rodrigo Duterte gave his nod to the resumption of casino operations in Boracay Island, Malacañang said on Saturday.
“The President has given his go-signal allowing the operation of a casino in Boracay. Prior to this directive, casino establishments have not been operating in the island,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Roque said the move is part of the government’s “revenue-generating efforts” to augment funds for Covid-19 response efforts.
The casino may resume operations on condition that health protocols against Covid-19 will be observed.
Minors are prohibited from all gambling activities.
“Casino operation in Boracay shall follow restrictions such as the observance of safety and health protocols imposed in view of the current Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring safeguards to keep children or minors away from gambling activities,” Roque said.
In a pre-recorded Talk to the People on Thursday, Duterte hinted that he might lift the casino ban in Boracay as the government is running low on funds.
Duterte also said the administration needs to look for ways to generate more funds to address the pandemic.
In May this year, Duterte allowed the partial resumption of gambling activities, such as those under Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), to augment the Covid-19 response funds.
While Duterte considers POGOs as tax revenue generators, they can only resume operations if they settle taxes and obtain clearance from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, pay fees required by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and shoulder the Covid-19 testing of their employees.