According to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, regarding President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to establish casinos in Boracay Island, the Department of Tourism will heed this call.
During the House appropriation committee deliberations about the proposed P3.526-billion budget of the department for 2022, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate posed a question to Puyat whether gambling is part of its department's campaign to revive the tourism sector.
"Kabahagi ba ng inyong very aggressive campaign to also make the Philippines as a gambling tourism haven, especially now the supposed ban on casinos is already lifted by the President?" Zarate asked, according to the report of GMA News Online.
(Is making the Philippines a gambling tourism haven part of your very aggressive [tourism] campaign, especially now that the President already lifts the supposed ban on casinos?)
Puyat then explained, when it comes to casinos, it is under the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and not the DOT, adding that the department focuses on promoting tourist destinations that are famous for their natural beauty.
"When we promote our country, we promote sand and beach. Right now ang hinahanap po ng ating mga travelers abroad kung how safe it is here to come to the country when travel restrictions are lifted," she said.
(Right now, the travelers from abroad are looking at how safe it is to come to the country when the travel restrictions are lifted.)
“‘Yun po yung [ginagawa] po namin, ‘yung health and safety, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung sand and beach, diving, etcetera,” she added.
(We are focusing on the health and safety of the tourists and promoting sand and beach, diving, etcetera.)
However, Zarate refuted and said that Boracay has always offered the 'sun and beach,' since back then. He then proceeds to ask if she agrees with the President's decision to allow casinos on the Island.
"That is the decision of the president, so we follow the president," Romulo-Puyat replied.
(Source: CNN Philippines, GMA News)