By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is inclined to support the proposed temporary closure of Boracay to pave the way for the rehabilitation of the world famous beach destination.
The President said Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año informed him that it would take six months to rehabilitate the island which he earlier described as a cesspool.
“Kagabi sabi niya [Last night he said] Boracay he thinks will take a little bit longer.
And I answered him, sabi ko [I said], ‘General, nandiyan ka [you are there] I placed you there, whatever is your decision I will support you. Bahala ka [It’s up to you]. You just make the recommendation and if I find everything that is all right and in consonance with the — diretso na [go ahead],” Duterte said during the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines at the Manila Hotel.
“Sabi niya [He said] it will take about something like six months. Sabi ko [I said], ‘then do it.’ Kayo man rin ang nagsira ng Boracay hindi man kami [You destroyed Boracay, not us],” he added.
An inter-agency task force earlier recommended the closure of Boracay for a maximum period of one year to allow the government to implement rehabilitation works on the island amid its environmental degradation. The recommendation was made by Año, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo following the inspection of the island.
The President earlier said he would place Boracay under a state of calamity to ensure the swift release of funds needed to rehabilitate the island. Duterte also threatened to shut down Boracay after becoming a “cesspool” due to its sewerage and waste management problems.
Malacañang recently assured that the proposed closure of Boracay would not be permanent.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said any partial shutdown of Boracay would only be a remedial measure to ensure the protection of the environment and “the jewel that is Boracay, will be shared by the coming generations.”
“Wala pong possibility ng permanent closure [There is no possibility of permanent closure] –only steps that must be undertaken to protect the environment of Boracay,” he said.
Roque also said the President is expected to decide on the Boracay issue with fairness and devoid of political considerations. Duterte will also consider the plight of the small businesses before deciding on the matter, he added.