Renowned urban planner and architect Felino Palafox Jr. said a casino should not be built in Boracay because the island has become so vulnerable.
“It’s the wrong land use at the wrong place, at the wrong time… because overcapacity na, overloaded ang Boracay,” Palafox said in an interview on Tuesday.
“Boracay is only 1,000 hectares and it is so environmentally vulnerable,” he said.
“Gamers or gamblers, they don’t need to see beachfront. Casinos do not have windows,” he added.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) granted Galaxy Entertainment Group and the company’s Filipino partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC) a provisional license to build a $500-million integrated resort in Boracay in 2019.
Palafox said he supports the government in its decision to shut down the island for six months beginning April 26 to rehabilitate it. The closure was done after several establishments were found to have violated environmental laws, throwing their sewage into the waters.
He claimed that the Department of Tourism is under-reporting the number of visitors in the island, saying around two million people visit Boracay annually when according to his estimate, around three million people flock to the island every year.
Palafox admitted that the closure of the island is a bitter pill to swallow because thousands of people will lose their jobs and businesses will lose their income.
“There will be a lot of sacrifices, but I think the six months gives a breathing space for Boracay,” he said.
Palafox has presented a plan to the DoT, Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for Boracay.
“We have immediate action program [for]the next 100 days. We have short-term, medium term and long-term. We have additional plan that may last a hundred years,” he said. “They (government) appreciated it. I think they are going to implement it.”