Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has reversed his previous opposition to gambling, stating that it should now be encouraged in the country to help repair some of the financial damage dealt by the COVID pandemic.
According to Mr Duterte, his country’s efforts to contain the COVID pandemic has depleted its cash reserves,
“Go ahead and gamble”, he said. “Now that we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities”.
“Though it may sound not really repulsive, but maybe repugnant to some [sic], you have to deal with it because we need money for the country”, he insisted.
The statement comes as a rather stark reversal in President Duterte’s philosophy, especially considering he previously issued an Executive Order cancelling the casino licenses of all operators on the island, scuppering a proposed $500 million (€421 million) casino development in the country by Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment Group.
On the other hand, the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators industry has, under his premiership, allowed online casino operators get licenses to provide online gambling services to locals.
Addressing accusations that he has allowed gambling, he said: “Correct, that is true. I do not deny it. Now I would like to bring you mind a few years back in time. When I was newly installed as President, I said, ‘I am against gambling’ and I never allowed it”.
However, he pointed out, “when it comes to the pandemic, we’re running out of money. We used up all our reserved funds to contain the virus from rampaging all throughout the country”.
Rodrigo Duterte. Image: Rody Duterte/ Facebook
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