By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said the fate of the popular beach island of Boracay will finally be revealed on Monday.
According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año
“On Monday, the Secretaries of Tourism, DENR, and DILG will meet and will make public the plan of action for Boracay. So let’s wait for that declaration this Monday,” Roque said in a press briefing in Alimodia, Iloilo this afternoon.
Last month, Duterte said that he will give the DENR six months to clean up Boracay or else he will be forced to close the popular tourist destination down. He said that this stemmed from a complaint signed by three travel agencies about the “utter neglect of maintaining the quality of everything there.”
On Wednesday, Duterte announced that he will place Boracay under a state of calamity in order the clean up the popular beach island which the President said has turned into a cesspool.
He also threatened to charge Boracay business owners and local government officials with sedition if they will not cooperate with the government’s plan to rehabilitate the popular island destination.
“Sa Boracay, suplado ‘yung mga tao, ayaw mag-cooperate (People in Boracay are so snobbish, they don’t want to cooperate),” Duterte said in his speech in Tarlac City Wednesday.
According to the President, there are now three issues hounding the popular beach islands, aside from the environmental laws violations, that now require government intervention — public health, public interest, and law and order.
“Kasi kung ayaw nila mag-cooperate (Because if they don’t want to cooperate) and they begin to protest, eh kayo naman ang may kasalanan diyan (it’s your fault anyway), you were responsible for the damage all these years, pati ‘yung mga (even the) local officials who were all nonchalant of the problem there, aarestuhin ko kayong lahat (I will arrest you all),” he said.
“And if you put up a fight then I’ll charge you for sedition, preventing government to do what is good for the Filipino people. ‘Yan lang ang maiwan ko sa kanila (That is the only thing I can leave them with),” he added.
Duterte, meanwhile, warned other local government units to exhaust all means to not allow their tourist spots end up like Boracay.
“Kung meron kayo (If you have a tourist spot in your area), do not allow to — it’s very important that we talk now — do not allow it to deteriorate, sayang eh (because it will be a waste). Then we have to go in again and to go, to clean,” he appealed.
“Eh sana kayo na lang. Nandiyan na rin kayo (I hope you can do it because you are already there). And there are so many vast powers of government that you can use. The government is empowered to come up with measures, regulations, rules that would promote public order, public safety, public health and everything, public interest, lahat (everything),” he added.
The President also reiterated his appeal to the courts to not issue a temporary restraining order that will make it difficult for the government to operate on Boracay.
“If you decide to issue a TRO, stopping us, think. Think a thousand times. It’s either I would not believe you or I will put you to task for going against what is good for the people in this government,” he said.