Provincial Tourism Council president Lucas Nunag on Wednesday echoed the preemptive stand mounted by a Church-led multi-sectoral group to block the entry of casinos into the “wholesome, family-friendly” province of Bohol.
According to Nunag, casinos would tarnish Bohol’s long-preserved reputation as an eco-cultural tourist destination.
“Kinsa man pud ning mga investors sa casino? Bol-anon ba? Dili. Ang ilang agenda ani is to make money using Boholano assets, the Boholano reputation at the cost of our culture, at the cost of our values,” said Nunag during a multi-panel session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP).
“Kining dugay gi-ampingan sa atong mga katiguwangan nga atong pagkarelihiyoso, pagka peace-loving mabungkag na just because of the agenda of non-Boholanos,” he added.
Nunag said that the “ill effects” of casinos outweigh their gain, noting that Bohol has enough attractions, which include centuries-old churches, to draw tourists.
“We want to avoid kining mga ill effects of casinos. Not just to protect our reputation but also as a matter of fact nga naa kauban ana mga kawat, prostitution, drugs and money laundering will be prevalent dinhi.”
The PTC official, who owns a boutique resort in Panglao, expressed confidence that the province can drive off casinos, the same way it denied entry to coal-fired power plants.
He said that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is known to consider the stand of a locality before issuing a franchise to casino investors.
“Makita na kay maminaw man ang PAGCOR pud og sa unsy pulso sa probinsya, especially if gi express na by way of a provincial ordinance,” he added.
For its part, the SP will officially express the province’s stand against casinos through a resolution which will be relayed to PAGCOR, if agreed upon in future hearings and public consultations on the issue.
“This is a preventive measure. Di ta maghuwat na naa nay mo abot sa province niya anha pa ta mo action,” said Provincial Board Member and SP tourism chair Alexie Tutor who led the multi-committee meeting.
Tutor noted that several investors, including Japanese businessmen, have expressed interest in opening up casinos in Bohol.
Last month, the anti-casino group led by Bishop Abet Uy and Bishop Daniel Parcon first aired its sentiments against the entry of casinos through a strongly-worded manifesto which highlighted that the entry of such establishments would go against the values of the predominantly Catholic province which is home to centuries-old churches and 18 bishops and a slew of clergymen deployed in various areas in the country and abroad.
“While casinos could be a major tourism draw that will bring in many tourists, they will certainly threaten the very image that Bohol has so carefully and painstakingly developed and nurtured—that of being a wholesome, family-friendly eco-cultural tourist destination,” it said.
The manifesto cited countries which have sustained their tourism popularity even without casinos.
“Thailand, the most successful destination in the ASEAN, has outlawed casinos. There are also no casinos in Mainland China, Japan and Tawain. Yet, these countries have a flouring tourism industry,” it added. (RT)