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‘No to gambling casino, no to gambling in Boracay!’

‘No to gambling casino, no to gambling in Boracay!’

Collegial Statement of Western Visayas and Romblon Bishops and Diocesan Administrator
4 October 2021

“As a single human family, as fellow travelers… as children of the same earth which is our common home… brothers and sisters all” (Fratelli Tutti, no. 8), We – archbishop, bishops and diocesan administrator of the Archdioceses of Jaro and Capiz, of the Dioceses of Bacolod, San Jose de Antique, Romblon, Kabankalan and San Carlos – are one with Bishop Jose Corazon T. Talaoc and the Diocese of Kalibo in declaring:

“Boracay is God’s gift to Aklan and to the whole world.”

“Boracay is already a paradise: a family destination, a venue for educational advancement and entrepreneurship, a wider avenue for employment, a good source of livelihood for the people and revenues for the government.”

This is because Boracay Island is blessed with pristine white powdery sand, crystal azure waters, abundant flora and fauna, and diverse marine life which make Boracay one of the best and most attractive vacation destinations of the world. We appreciate the efforts of our government in restoring the natural, God-given wonders of Boracay Island that make it famous here and abroad. We appeal to our public servants to hear our people s plea to keep Boracay clean, safe, child and family-friendly island to visit and to spend precious quality time with our loved ones. Hence, we, too, strongly declare:

“No to Gambling Casino, No to Gambling in Boracay!”

Having the gambling casinos in Boracay will not only divert and distract visitors from the true beauty and value of this most cherished island but will also pave the way for destructive lifestyles and habits that will significantly alter and destroy the treasured values, culture and life of the community. Needless to ask, how many individuals and families have been destroyed because of gambling?

Over the years, there have been numerous studies and findings that established the fact that gambling problems can have a significant impact and harm on families, friends, workplaces and communities which include, among others, diminished emotional, mental and physical health, communication breakdown and confusion about family roles and responsibilities, impaired family relationships, mistrust, family neglect, poor social life and work performance resulting to lost productivity, crime (such as theft and fraud), and financial hardship – even bankruptcy, depression, and suicide. Gambling statistics further show that families where a parent gambles compulsively are more likely to experience domestic violence, including child abuse. Over 80% of problem gamblers were at risk for alcohol or drug use/dependency and one-half of compulsive gamblers commit crimes. We don’t want to encourage gambling to prevent these problems to happen.

While we understand the urgent need of government to raise its revenue especially during this pandemic, the harm and risk factors far outweigh the expected benefits if we conduct the social impact assessment of opening gambling casinos in Boracay that should necessarily involve the affected communities, particularly the community of indigenous people in the island. Our Church teachings strongly remind us that gambling becomes morally unacceptable when it deprives “someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others”. As Church, we are not against development but it should be a development that is both sustainable and integral, a development that is authentically just and for the common good. Hence, as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis in this Season of Creation with the theme: “Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God” – once more we say with one voice:

“No to Gambling Casino, No to Gambling in Boracay!”

 

METROPOLITAN SEE OF JARO:

MOST REV. JOSE ROMEO O. LAZO, D.D.
Archdiocese of Jaro

MOST REV. MARVYN A. MACEDA, D.D.
Diocese of San Jose de Antique

MOST REV. PATRICIO A. BUZON, SDB, D.D.
Diocese of Bacolod

MOST REV. GERARDO A. ALMINAZA, D.D.
Diocese of San Carlos

MOST REV. LOUIE P. GALBINES, D.D.
Diocese of Kabankalan

 

METROPOLITAN SEE OF CAPIZ:

VERY REV. MSGR. CYRIL B. VILLAREAL
Archdiocese of Capiz

MOST REV. JOSE CORAZON T. TALAOC, D.D.
Bishop of Kalibo

MOST REV. NARCISO ABELLANA, MSC
Bishop of Romblon

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