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Metro Manila remains under lockdown as Philippines welcomes new casinos

Metro Manila is going to extend Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) until 7 September.

Previously, MECQ was supposed to last until 31 August, but with the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the Government announced the capital and nearby provinces, including Bulacan, Cavite, Rizan and Laguna, will remain under lockdown. There’s also a curfew for the affected regions.

The Government is, however, set to begin granular lockdowns, which would target outbreak zones specifically, instead of placing entire provinces under lockdown.

Many casinos in Entertainment City, a congregation of commercial casino resorts in Metro Manila, remain closed. MECQ regulations offer more relaxed restrictions than the previous quarantine measures, but the casinos are in no hurry to open their doors.

On Friday, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) confirmed that the Philippines will be accepting new casino licence applicants, after lifting the January 2018 moratorium, which essentially banned the establishment of new casino venues. PAGCOR chairperson Andrea Domingo also stated that no new casinos will be built in Entertainment City, aside from the ones that are already in development.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was previously against the construction of casinos on Boracay island, a popular holiday destination, has now stated that the new property would help the nation. “The President has given his go-signal allowing the operation of a casino in Boracay,” said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. “Casino operations in Boracay shall follow restrictions such as the observance of safety and health protocols imposed in view of the current Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring safeguards to keep children or minors away from gambling activities.”

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