Leisure and Resorts World Corp. has denied that it has shelved plans with Galaxy Entertainment for a casino on the island of Boracay, contradicting comments from government tourism officials.
Tourism Assistant Secretary told news reporters at a press conference earlier Tuesday that the two partners would seek alternatives.
“Galaxy has said they are now looking for another venue. That is very much welcome,” Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre was reported by local media as saying.
The Macau-based gaming company will now have to “repeat” the regulatory procedures.
“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,” Alegre reportedly said.
However, late Tuesday local media cited the Philippine company as saying that the project has not been abandoned.
“Both parties have not reached any final decision regarding its planned Boracay resort project. Following protocol, no change in plans or project location would be made without prior consultation and agreement with Pagcor,” GMA News cited LRWC vice president and corporate secretary Katrina Nepomuceno as saying.
“Contrary to claims that Galaxy has abandoned its planned Boracay project, no such announcement has been made nor communicated with Pagcor,” she added.
News outlet Rappler also reported the comments, though the statement has not yet been filed with the Philippine Stock Exchange or on the company website.
Galaxy won a provisional license in March for a $500 million property on the island famed for its white sand beaches. However, shortly afterwards President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was closing the destination to tourism due to concerns about the environment. Uncontrolled development has turned Boracay into a “cesspool,” he said.
The closure is due to take effect later this week for a period of six months to allow for a clean up. Some officials say the shutdown is likely to be for four months.