Three of the four congressional bets in the Third District aired their vehement objection against the entry of casinos into the province during the first edition of the Bohol Candidates’ Forum 2019 in Tagbilaran City on Monday.
Vice Governor Dionisio Balite, retired Judge Carlos Fernando and Board Member Alexie Tutor, all gunning for the same congressional seat, were united in expressing opposition to casinos in the province, which is considered as among the country’s top tourism draws.
“I have to put my foot down, I am against the operation of casino in my district,” said Fernando.
Tutor, who has been at the forefront of the anti-casino movement at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said that Bohol should maintain its image as an “eco-tourism, eco-cultural” destination.
Both Tutor and Fernando admitted that allowing casinos to enter the province will have benefits but noted that these are outweighed by the ill effects.
“When we say casino, daghan g’yud, naay ingon nako daghang kwarta daghan tanan-tanan. But again, the ill effects of casino are heavier than the advantages,” said Tutor.
“Income-wise, material, maka-ginansya ta. Pero ang downside ang moralidad sa katawhan. Casino; it means gambling. It will spawn unpleasant activities like for example prostitution unya og naay gambling, naa gyud ng mga kawat. Dunay domino effect ang casino,” Fernando said.
Balite meanwhile saw no upside in having a casino in Bohol, saying “no way” to its entry into the province.
All three candidates also favored the prioritization of wastewater management programs.
Balite and Fernando said the local government units should appropriate substantial funding for wastewater treatment facilities as the area on wastewater management appeared to be neglected by the current leadership.
Tutor meanwhile cited resorts in Panglao which have been issued permits and allowed to operate even without adequate wastewater treatment facilities.
They also favored the creation of another congressional district, citing the increase of budget allocation for the entire province through a fourth district.
The event was the first of a series of forums for gubernatorial and congressional candidates.
Among four Third District congressional bets, only former Carmen mayor Cheche Toribio-Delos Reyes skipped the forum due to a prior commitment that required her presence in Manila.
The forum was attended by Provincial Commission on Elections Supervisor Ebbi Aba, Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Albert Uy and other chamber officials.
Uy delivered the welcome remarks, BCCI trustee Dominic Butalid acted as moderator, trustee Lucas Nunag delivered the statement of purpose and trustee Peter Dejaresco closed the forum.
The forum, themed “My Voice, Your Choice,” was covered live over dyRD-AM.