By Genalyn Kabiling
Any businessman planning to build a casino or other gambling facility in Boracay should "forget it" since the government will prohibit such move, President Duterte insisted on Friday.
The President affirmed that he detests gambling and that operators must be "dreaming" if they think they can start gambling operations in the island once the rehabilitation period is over.
"I hate gambling. I do not want gambling," Duterte said during the 2018 National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) summit in Davao City. "If you are thinking of a gambling place there, forget it. You are dreaming," he added.
The government has temporarily closed down the world famous tourist island to make way for a major cleanup and rehabilitation of what Duterte has described as a cesspool. The island is expected to be reopened in October once the government has completed the improvement of sewege and water treatment facilities and dismantle illegal structure.
The President, in his remarks in Davao City, said he intends to return Boracay to the locals, including farmers, under the land reform program despite criticisms from some Boracay businessmen.
"Why are you questioning me? You polluted, contaminated, ngayon you are speculating if I will give it to the poor. Mga l**** kayong mga negosyante diyan. Remember that Boracay island is a forestal, agricultural category," he said.
"Nagtayo kayo ng mga hotel pero your s*** was out to the sea and there is no working sewer or sewerage system in the place, continued to rake up profits, built a five-star… Whoever told you that you can play around with these f**** things?" he added.
He said land beneficiaries could have the option to sell or lease their land for earn profit in the future. He said allowing the locals to earn a considerable sum of money would somehow even the score after years of being deprived of the benefits from the island's tourism boom.
Duterte also said it was up to Congress to set aside a small portion of the Boracay coastline for commercial purposes.
"Boracay is really just a small place. Fill it with people, fill it with humanity, it cannot stand the ecological load," he said.
He also disclosed plans to dismantle private resorts and bungalows built by rich in Boracay under the land reform program.
"Marami diyan doon ‘yung mga mayaman they have cottages there, they have the chalets, they have the bungalows. It’s not yours to decide," he said.
"I will destroy your house because the land belongs to the farmers. You are too presumptuous in this life na kayong ‘yung may mga pera akala ninyo you just can do it left and right the way you please," he added.
The President earlier clarified the land reform beneficiaries could sell their property ten years after the lands were distributed.