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Nothing could be more ironic when people cheered the madman in Malacañang as he closed down, demolished and stripped many of the Boracay residents and local businessmen out of their livelihood in his bid to clean up Boracay. However, experts already claimed that there’s really no need to close down Boracay to facilitate a mass cleanup but still Duterte insist. Many of the Boracay folks were sent starving and even forced out of the island as Duterte is poised to clean up and rehabilitate the island.
Well, yeah it’s true that some establishments have indeed built illegal structures for many years, and not all are connected to the sewage and drainage system. The unsightly green algae that teem during the summer. What is happening in Boracay is as JC Punongbayan called it ”The Tragedy of the Commons”; people, following their self-interest, end up overusing and depleting a shared resource like Boracay’s environment.
Even several senators most notably Cynthia Villar were not keen on the idea of closing down all the hotels and resorts in Boracay as this would affect the livelihood of more than 33,109 residents and 17,000 workers will be laid off. Not to mention around 56 Billion pesos of economic loss. The price was too great and many needlessly suffered for something that can be done without closing the island entirely. Duterte’s one-swoop iron-fist approach leaves many starving and hundreds of residents forced out of the island. And for what? The answer is strikingly clear… China.
Duterte loved China so much that he gave them Boracay?
Amidst the Boracay closure. Duterte met with Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd executives for a grandiose plan of building a 500 million dollar casino resort. This 1,001-room beachfront hotel, set to be the largest in the country. And the construction has even started right at the moment of the Boracay closure which is as expected as they’ve already bought a 23-hectare property south of the island for their megacasino and secured a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) that will allow them to begin construction.
Upon re-opening of Boracay Island. Many found that it’s beaches has since been much clearer than before as well as the cesspool which plagued the island due to illegal disposal of waste. However, along with its re-opening is the sudden appearance of Chinese establishments, restaurants, and hotels popping up literally everywhere on the island as shown in a post by a netizen Antonio Larrauri.
The mass influx of Chinese businesses in Boracay should be enough to send chills on local business owners
We must really be worried as a similar occurence is currently happening in one of Cambodia’s once-sleepy beach town of Sihanoukville. Where more than 20% of the population are Chinese business owners and workers. Worst, most of the Chinese tourists arrivals only choose Chinese hotels and eats in Chinese restaurants. Leaving the local business sector reeling into bankruptcy.
The upsurge of Chinese investments in Cambodia also increases the pressure among its local inhabitants most notably the cost-of-living such as ‘rent’ and ‘food’ which drastically forces them to withdrew or move away from the area. In fact, according to a Kong Samol, 32, a tuk-tuk driver, is one of those losing out. “Because of all the Chinese businessmen here, my expenses have gone up but my earnings have gone down,” he says. “My rent has increased from $50 to $150 and it’s unaffordable for me. The owner wants to kick me out of my room so he can rent it to the Chinese who will pay so much more than I can afford. I know so many people who came here for work but have moved back to their villages because rent is impossible now.”
So you see? The dark-side of Chinese investments and the horde of Chinese businesses flocking in from China isn’t really doing much help to its host countries. In fact, it may even deepen cultural wounds and increase economic inequalities amongst the poor and the super-rich. This is something that we don’t want to happen in Boracay. You can read more about this article in this link.
How about the Chinese casino in Boracay set to start construction in 2019?
Right now, we haven’t even seen the huge 500 million Chinese casino just yet as Duterte magically imposed a ban on casinos in the island but as per February this year Hong Kong billionaire Lui Che Woo talking with Inside Asian Gaming, Lui says the Boracay project isn’t totally off. “It’s always been one of the top five beach islands of the world and we truly want to be part of it and make sure we would be able to elevate it back to the same position as before..”
Their provisional license issued to Galaxy Entertainment has since been temporarily cancelled. Perhaps, we know that it’s an election in 2019 and Duterte is an expert in this pretentious political posturing to woe the people as he did last 2016 when he bragged about riding a jetski to the West Philippine Sea only reneged later by holding Xi Jing Ping’s hands after he winning a landslide victory. I wouldn’t be too happy believing Duterte as I did once believed him and all I get is ‘crap’.
But we can’t really be too sure just yet as Galaxy Entertainment mentioned this February that the construction of the casino will be pushed through and is rumored to open by 2019 this year. So we may already know that there’s some flip-flop politics at play here and that Duterte is expected to lift the ban once his political allies control the Senate after this May’s decisive senatorial elections. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that many Filipinos aren’t fooled by the madman in Malacañang again.