Environment Secretary concerned about Boracay resort

The Secretary for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has expressed concern that a plan to build a $500 million casino resort on the Philippine island of Boracay runs counter to the government’s plan to rehabilitate the environment there.

Local media reports that Secretary Roy Cimatu met with local stakeholders on the island on Monday. He said developers now need to apply for an environmental compliance certificate before being able to build.

Macau operator Galaxy Entertainment and Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC), which were recently awarded a license for the resort, have not yet applied for the certificate. The department will only issue a license after carrying out a study on the carrying capacity on Boracay. The last time such a study was carried out was ten years ago and the island was already close to capacity then, the reports aid.

LRWC said on Monday that the planned complex will not be a mega resort, but a family friendly destination. The two companies have previously said that they plan a low-rise eco-friendly resort.

President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to close down tourism on the island, famed for its white sand beaches, to allow time to reverse damage to the environment.