2 weeks after island’s closure, Duterte forms Boracay task force

Paterno Esmaquel II
2 weeks after island’s closure, Duterte forms Boracay task force
The Boracay Inter-agency Task Force is ordered to formulate 'an action plan towards the sustainable tourism development of Boracay'

MANILA, Philippines – Two weeks after closing Boracay to tourists, President Rodrigo Duterte created the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force to formulate an “action plan” and help rehabilitate the island. 

Duterte ordered the creation of the task force through Executive Order (EO) 53, which was signed on Tuesday, May 8, and released to reporters on Thursday, May 10.

Boracay was officially closed to tourists on April 26. 

The Boracay Inter-agency Task Force is chaired by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Its vice chair is the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The DILG’s officer-in-charge is Undersecretary Eduardo Año.

EO 53 stated the following as part of the powers and functions of the task force:

  • to “review and consolidate existing master plans” and to formulate “an action plan towards the sustainable tourism development of Boracay”
  • to coordinate with concerned agencies and local government units (LGUs) “on the immediate withholding or revocation of permits or licenses” issued to business that violate environmental laws
  • to evaluate “building permits or licenses granted by relevant agencies and LGUs”
  • to “perform other tasks that the President may direct”

EO 53 also said that “a moratorium on the construction of new tourism and other business facilities and enterprises…shall be strictly enforced for 6 months from the effectivity of this Order.”

The funding for implementing EO 53 “shall be sourced from existing appropriations of member-agencies of the task force,” among other things. 

On the day Boracay was closed, Duterte also signed the proclamation declaring a state of calamity in 3 barangays on the island.  

Duterte closed Boracay to tourists for a 6-month period because the island has supposedly become a “cesspool.” The country stands to lose P1.96 billion due to the decision, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.