AKLAN, Philippines – Even without a publicized written order from President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines on Thursday, April 26, officially closed the world-famous island of Boracay for a 6-month rehabilitation period.
The President “verbally” ordered the island’s closure, saying Boracay has become a “cesspool.” (READ: INSIDE STORY: How Duterte decided on Boracay closure)
Without presenting a master plan for Boracay’s rehabilitation, Duterte approved the recommendation of the environment, interior, and tourism departments to close Boracay to tourists for a maximum of 6 months.
Boracay’s rehabilitation is set to proceed starting Thursday, with government agencies using regular budgets.
Malacañang had earlier downplayed the seemingly last-minute issuance of the written orders, saying the public didn’t need the documents to know about and prepare for the closure.
Duterte had ordered the closure of the popular tourist destination during a Cabinet meeting on April 4, around two months after he had first declared his intent to do so during a speech in Davao City.
The country stands to lose P1.96 billion due to the decision, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. The President earlier admitted he has no master plan for Boracay.
Residents have also complained of the lack of clear guidelines and adequate compensation for workers whose livelihood may be affected by the closure. Commercial establishments in Boracay will also take a hit due to the prohibition against tourists, a significant contributor to the island’s economy.
Malacañang, however, insists the closure is the only way to once and for all solve Boracay’s environmental issues. – with reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
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