DILG’s Boracay plan: 6-month state of calamity, 2-month business shutdown

Rambo Talabong

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DILG’s Boracay plan: 6-month state of calamity, 2-month business shutdown
DILG Officer-in-charge Eduardo Año says the declaration will 'hasten' the island's recovery from intense commercialization

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) proposed declaring a 6-month state of calamity and 2-month commercial shutdown in popular paradise island Boracay.

The announcement: “[T]he proposed declaration of state of calamity would run for six months but the temporary closure of business operations in the three barangays composing the Island would, if necessary, be only be for 60 days,” the DILG said in a statement on Wednesday, February 28.

What does this mean? Declaring a state of calamity means 4 things for Boracay

  1. Price control for basic commodities
  2. Zero-interest loans to be allowed
  3. Opening up of calamity funds for rehabilitation
  4. Quick authorization of donations to the island

It is unclear what types of businesses would be banned from operating if the commercial shutdown takes place. The DILG has been reached for clarification.

Why declare? According to the DILG, the declaration of a state of calamity and halting of business operations would “hasten” rehabilitation efforts.

“It’s one of the options we’re considering because there is concern that the plan to rehabilitate Boracay Island cannot be achieved under normal circumstances, meaning when normal commercial activities are in operation,” DILG Officer-in-charge Undersecretary Eduardo Año said in the statement.

Who can declare? Only President Rodrigo Duterte can declare Boracay to be in a state of calamity, according to Republic Act No. 10121, also known as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

The controversy on the island began when Duterte himself threatened to close down the entire island, calling it a “cesspool.”

What about tourism? Año, through the DILG statement, struck down speculation that the popular island getaway’s tourism would suffer, saying that it’s high time that the nature-rich area takes a breather from intense commercialization.

“And now that the world knows about Boracay being cleaned up, there is an expected influx of local and international tourists when Boracay is reopened because they would want to see how has the Island improved,” he said. 

He added that declaring a state of calamity and commercial shutdown would pose as a warning to other local government units to take care of the country’s natural wonders– Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.