Gov't needs money: Duterte apologizes to Pinoys for change of heart on gambling

Published August 27, 2021, 10:35 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has asked the public for its forgiveness after he softened his stand against gambling, particularly when it comes to gambling establishments on the world-famous Boracay island in Aklan.

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) speaks during a meeting in Malacañang. (Photo from PCOO Facebook page)

Boracay was among the topics raised by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu during his presentation in the taped airing of Duterte’s “Talk to the People” public briefing on late Thursday night, Aug. 26. The President chimed in on several related issues while Cimatu was presenting his slides.

“Ngayon, magsabi ka, ‘Ito si Duterte, bakit sabi mo ayaw mo ng sugal, tapos ngayon maski ‘yung sa Boracay ‘yung gambling house doon ine-encourage mong buksan para sa tourist?’ (Now, you say, ‘This person Duterte, why did you say that you’re against gambling, and yet to encourage the opening of a gambling house in Boracay for tourists?)” Duterte said.

“Patawara — patawarin na po ninyo ako (Please forgive me) for the contradiction. Ngayon po wala tayong pera. Kung saan man tayo makakuha ng pera, kukunin ko. Kung diyan sa gambling, so be it (Right now we have no money. Wherever we can get money, I’ll take it. If it’s from gambling, so be it),” he said.

The country has been racing to vaccinate a target number from its population of 110 million people in order to achieve herd immunity from the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Not able to produce its own supply of vaccines, the Philippines has had to rely on limited procurements and the generosity of donor nations in acquiring the life-saving jabs.

Boracay (Photo by RJ Baculo/ Unsplash)

Earlier in the briefing, Duterte recalled that he previously asked Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to shut down all gambling establishments in Boracay.

“Hininto ko nga, lahat, kasi ayaw ko ng sugal, pati na ‘yung…(I had all of them closed because I don’t like gambling, even the…) General Año was the one enforcing the order then to close the gambling because I do not want it operating there,” he noted.

“Ngayon, kung nagkamali ako, tama ‘yan, nagkamali ako. Kung wala akong isang salita diyan, tama ‘yan, wala akong isang salita diyan. Pero kailangan ko ng pera para patakbuhin ang gobyerno kasi marami akong gagastusan (Now, if I was wrong, then yes, I was wrong. If had no word of honor, then yes, I had to word of honor. But I need money to pay a lot of expenses and keep the government running),” Duterte further said.

Boracay–the crown jewel of Philippine tourism–went through massive rehabilitation under the current administration in 2018 due to numerous underlying ecological problems. It was closed off to tourists for six months.

Duterte praised Cimatu on Thursday for doing a good job in cleaning up Boracay.