Densing to Malay mayor: Don’t hold Boracay rehab ‘hostage’ by not cooperating

Aika Rey
'He (Cawalig) has to cooperate. We don't want the rehabilitation to be held hostage just by one or two officials,' says Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III

PRESS BRIEFING. Government officials hold a press briefing on the eve of Boracay closure. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

AKLAN, Philippines – Government officials struggle coordinating with a local government official, a day before rehabilitatin works commence in the top tourist destination island of Boracay.

In a press brieifing on Wednesday, April 25, Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III accused Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawalig of holding rehabilitation efforts “hostage” by not giving them the local government’s go-signal on some construction works in the island.

“By all means, he (Cawalig) has to cooperate. We don’t want the rehabilitation to be held hostage just by one or two officials,” Densing told reporters on Wednesday.

Environmental Secretary Roy Cimatu said that Cawalig has yet to sign the request for demolition of structures that will be affected by the widening of the island’s main road.

“We already sent a request for demolition but the local government is not reacting that much. We are inviting the mayor politely to come here and sign. We’re only waiting for his [go signal] so we can start the demolition,” Cimatu said.

A day before the intended closure of Boracay, there was still no written order from the President authorizing the shutdown.

If the President fails to sign an executive order before the scheduled closure, all rehabilitation works must be authorized by the local government before national government agencies can procced.

“It’s quite unusual that the Mayor of Malay, Mayor Cawalig is not around. Everything will have to pass through him,” Densing said.

“We’re quite sad that he’s not here to give the support that we need to guide [us] today [and] tomorrow,” he added.

On Thursday, April 26, mayors from Aklan will join Governor Florencio Miraflores to kickstart demolition on erring structures. Asked whether Cawalig will come, Miraflores refused to elaborate if Cawalig is among the officials who will be with them.

Densing said that they will not allow one person to delay the rehabilitation of the island.

“Let’s not let one person to delay rehabilitation or cause the hostage of the whole island. That’s why we’re asking for everyone’s support,” he said.– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.