Duterte to declare state of calamity in Boracay, warns courts not to interfere

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte said he would declare a state of calamity in Boracay to put an end to its environmental woes, as proposed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

"I know it would wrought hardships and that is why I will be declaring a state of calamity," said the President on Tuesday, March 6, during the oath-taking of members of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

To justify such a declaration, Duterte said he would cite the impact of pollution in Boracay on Philippine tourism, public health, and public safety. (READ: Villanueva urges DENR to declare Boracay as 'critical' area)

The President then warned the courts not to get in his way by issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO).

"I would caution the courts not to interfere by issuing TRO because you would just exacerbate the situation and, worse, I might not believe you," he said.

"I am not an anarchist but if I think your action is really detrimental, choose: either I do not obey you or I will bullshit you in public," added Duterte.

The President said he had instructed DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año to "finish" Boracay's problems in 6 months.

The state of calamity would allow the government to address needs of persons who will be displaced by a crackdown on establishments violating environmental regulations. (READ: DENR gives erring Boracay establishments 2 months to 'shape up')

Duterte asked Boracay business owners and residents to "cooperate."

"If I were from Boracay or you guys there, the best thing for you to do is cooperate with government and hasten the cleanup. As long as there is shit coming out of the pipes, raining out to sea, I will never give you the time of the day to go back there," he said.

Año had earlier proposed a 6-month state of calamity and a 2-month shutdown of businesses on the island, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

The proposal came after Duterte threatened to "close" Boracay because its environmental problems have turned it into a "cesspool." (READ: Duterte warns he'll file complaint vs Boracay local gov't officials) – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

image