Amid crackdown: Guard against foreign take-over of Boracay – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – Amid government move to shutdown resorts in Boracay, including the small and locally-operated, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas), warned against foreign take-over of the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards 2016 best island. In December last year, it was reported that the Macau-based casino-resort operator plans to construct a $500-million integrated project at the said island.
“’Lutong Macau’ ang layunin ni Duterte na irehabilitate ang Boracay sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasara rito habang may dambuhalang kumpanya mula China ang nagpaplanong magtayo ng magarbong casino-resort sa isla,” Pamalakaya-Pilipinas Chairperson and former Anakpawis representative Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
The fisherfolk group was referring to the Filipino expression “lutong macau” which means a decision has been rigged or pre-arranged.
Based on news reports, Galaxy Entertainment and its local partner Leisure Resorts World Corp. are seeking regulatory approval for the $300-$500 million casino project in the country’s top tourist island.
Boracay Island is currently subjected to closure due to sewerage and waste management issue. President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to declare the island a state of calamity to make way for rehab.
For its part, Pamalakaya-Pilipinas said even though the Duterte administration has yet to admit the real score behind the Boracay shutdown, they are not incognizant to the fact that some giant developers are going to takeover and monopolize the island beach resorts to rake profit at the expense of our local businesses and patrimonial rights.
“Shutting down small-time beach resorts in Boracay as entry-point for foreign casinos is anti-Filipino, gross puppetry, and total sell-out not only of our national patrimony but even our beautiful tourist destinations,” the fisherfolk leader said.
“Duterte’s posturing to rehabilitate Boracay is absurd as he literally surrendered our marine resources and allowed environmental destruction brought about by his defeatism to reclamation and occupation of China in the West Philippine Sea, as well as the massive reclamation projects in our coastal waters through the National Reclamation Plan,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya-Pilipinas accepted that the issue of environmental protection of Boracy is urgent, but it should not be used as a facade to facilitate the entry of foreign monopoly resort corporations.
“Duterte should castigate more government officials who tolerated this predicament, while prioritizing the livelihood of poor sectors such as small cottage owners, resort workers, and fisherfolk communities. The administration must outrightly reject the applications of giant developers like the Galaxy Entertainment who want to transform our island into Macau-type casino,” Hicap added.
Lastly, the group called on small resorts owners, workers, fisherfolk and residents in Boracay, as well as environmental champions and defenders of national patrimony to stand guard and oppose the sell-out or foreign take-over of Boracay. ###