Boracay Close (Forever Sunburnt via Youtube / Manila Bulletin)
The President has approved the recommendation made by the inter-agency task force on the temporary closure of Boracay starting April 26 to pave the way for the rehabilitation works on the island.
“Boracay close for 6 months effective 26 April,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque tweeted in the middle of Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night. “Total (closure) to tourism,” he added.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra also said the proposal of Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Department of Tourism on the Boracay closure was approved “after an exhaustive discussion” during the Cabinet meeting.
Guevarra said calamity funds would also be activated to help workers who will be affected by the closure of Boracay close. He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment will also provide the necessary assistance to displaced workers.
President Duterte earlier indicated he was amenable to temporarily close down the island to allow the rehabilitation of the island, which he described as a cesspool. Boracay, known for its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, has been struggling with a bad sewerage and zoning problems. Now Boracay close is coming.
The inter-agency task force earlier submitted to Malacañang a detailed proposal on the six-month shutdown of Boracay to address the environmental problems. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) however has suggested the closure of Boracay in phases to minimize the disruption of businesses and livelihood in the island.
Prior to the Cabinet meeting, Guevarra said they expected a “final action” of the government on the Boracay close issue.
He said President Duterte wants to take into consideration the “economic impact” of the proposed Boracay closure since it would affect not only the environment but also the livelihood of the people.
Guevarra acknowledged that there were many issues about Boracay that need to be addressed during the Cabinet meeting.
“Maraming issues na dapat malinawan nang mabuti: Number one, ano ba ang kailangan gawin talaga sa Boracay? Number two, iyang sa mga gagawin na iyan sa Boracay like halimbawa iyong sa drainage, sewerage system nila, kailangan bang masara ang Boracay?” he said during a Palace news conference.
“kKung siya ay masasara, iyon ba ay total or partial? at kung isasagawa, kailan ba dapat simulan iyan?; at huli, kung sakali mang nandiyan na iyan, ano ang mga measures na dapat na gawin ng national at local government para iyong mga maapektuhan ay huwag naman masyadong mahirapan,” he said.
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