Fishers’ group warns of POGO proliferation in Boracay

Manila, Philippines – As President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the operations of casino in Boracay, the fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday warned of the proliferation of “unscrupulous” Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operated by Chinese gamblers in the tourist island.

In a statement, the fishers’ group raised the fear that opening Boracay for casinos might pave the way for the “surge of POGOs that are tainted with immoral activities including organized crimes of trafficking, tax evasion, prostitution, and bribery”.

“This is the sum of all our fears; after Duterte declared Boracay a cesspool and ordered its six-month shutdown in 2018, he has now allowed casino operators, which are most likely foreign, to enter our famous tourist island. This is anti-Filipino, gross puppetry, and sellout of our national patrimony to foreign enterprises at the expense of our local tourist industry and moreover, our pristine marine resources,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA national chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA was among the groups that opposed Duterte’s six-month shutdown of Boracay in 2018, amid reports that the Macau-based casino-resort operator Galaxy Entertainment is planning to construct a $500-million integrated project in the island.

“We always doubt Duterte’s rehabilitation program as mere posturing and a precursor to further privatization of Boracay by converting it into a foreign-owned casino island. Duterte should be condemned for using the pandemic to justify his puppetry and sellout of our national patrimony. The Filipinos should remain vigilant and oppose any attempt to transform our famous tourist site into a Macau-style casino island,” ended Hicap. ###

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