"Galaxy has said they are now looking for another venue. That is very much welcome," said Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre on Tuesday, April 17, during a press conference in Boracay. (READ: LIST: New Boracay rules during 6-month closure)
The Macau-based gaming company will now have to "repeat" the process necessary to put up a casino.
"They just have to go through the process of accreditation, and securing again a new Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) provisional authority. The whole process will be repeated," said Alegre.
Duterte had denied knowledge of Galaxy Entertainment Group's plans to put up the casino and even declared that the island must go to farmers instead of rich businessmen.
But the President previously met with the company's top executives in Malacañang and discussed the casino with them. (READ: FACT CHECK: Clueless about Boracay casino? Duterte discussed it with owners)
Plans to build the casino-resort did not sit well with some netizens who said it made the closure of Boracay reek of a double standard.
Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner Leisure & Resorts World Corporation had bought a 23-hectare land in Boracay for the casino-resort.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.