WATCH: The place where a casino will rise in Boracay

Aika Rey
Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Malay, Aklan, is where a Boracay casino will likely be built, should talks on it push through

RESORT. The rock formation on the left is part of the property that Leisure & Resorts World bought in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, where the rumored casino will be built. Photo by Adrian/Portugal

AKLAN, Philippines – The eastern side of top tourist destination Boracay, where Tambisaan Beach is located, appeared peaceful in the face of the island’s rehabilitation.

But controversies hound that area in Manoc-Manoc village in Malay, Aklan, as the said location is reportedly where a casino will be built.

Galaxy Entertainment’s local partner Leisure & Resorts World bought a 23-hectare land in Sitio Sugod in Manoc-Manoc for the casino-resort sometime in 2018.

As President Rodrigo Duterte appeared “clueless” about the casino project, Malacañang said no casinos will be built on the island. Boracay, currently under “maximum security” alert, is closed to the public for at least 6 months.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said he does not support the building of a casino in Boracay. When Cimatu tried to inspect the premises of the rumored property, he was barred by the guards from entering.

But environment officials earlier said they had not yet received any application for permits to build a hotel and casino in Boracay.

DENR is currently conducting another survey on Boracay’s carrying capacity, which will “guide the regulatory-set up of the island,” Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III said in a press conference on Thursday, April 26.

Officials earlier claimed that Galaxy Entertainment is looking for another location where a casino will be built, but Leisure & Resorts World Corporation denied the claims as they “have not reached any final decision” on the project.

Meanwhile, some residents supported the idea as it will bring “development” in their area. (WATCH: Some residents say yes to building casino in Boracay)

Boracay Island is home to 32,267 residents from the combined populations of Balabag, Manoc-Manoc, and Yapak villages in 2015. It is visited by some 18,000 tourists and 26,000 workers daily.

In 2017, tourist arrivals reached 2.1 million, a 16% increase from the 2016 figures of 1.7 million, according to the tourism department. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.