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Boracay’s woes begin

by Robert B. Roque, Jr.

The woes of thousands of workers rendered jobless for six months while Boracay is on lockdown begin today.

Hotel and restaurant employees, vendors, boatmen, tattoo artists and other people who make a living on the beach remain unaware if the government can or will provide new job opportunities for them during the shutdown.

However, the people allowed to work on the island during the cleanup process first need to secure identification passes to enter. The designated entry and exit points are the Caticlan port in mainland Malay and the Cagban port in Manoc-Manoc.

Jetty Port administrator-designate Niven Maquirang has clarified that since April 18, only non-resident workers of the island are required to secure Worker’s Terminal Identification Pass (TIP). They can fill out application forms at the Caticlan and Cagban ports without paying any fee. Still, they are required to submit a valid government-issued identification card and a certification of employment from a company operating and located on Boracay.

Although residents of the island’s three barangays – Yapak, Balabag and Manoc-Manoc – are exempted from getting terminal passes, they still need to present their barangay identification cards or any valid government identification card indicating their home address on Boracay. They are not allowed to enter the Caticlan and Cagban ports without these IDs.

According to Maquirang, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are ready to assist the residents and workers concerning entry and exit issues. Meanwhile, boat trips of the Caticlan Boracay Transport Multi-purpose Cooperative for the Caticlan-Cagban routes are scheduled from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

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Apart from these new rules, the prospect of a massive casino being put up on the island still remains a problem.

Contrary to the statement of the Department of Tourism, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation said it has not abandoned its plans to build a casino with Galaxy Entertainment Group on Boracay.

Leisure and Resorts World is the local partner of the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group in the planned construction of a gambling palace on a 23-hectare lot worth $500 million.

If the project pushes through due to the casino giant’s doggedness, it challenges Malacañang’s statement that there will be no casinos on Boracay. Do the men behind Galaxy and Resorts World dare contradict President Duterte himself?

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