By Chito A. Chavez
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Tourism (DOT) are recommending to President Duterte a six-month closure of world-renowned Boracay Island starting April 26.
This was revealed by DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco Densing III, later confirmed by DOT media director Ina Zara-Loyola.
The recommendation was agreed upon after the inter-agency task force met with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores.
Densing said a letter recommending the closure of Boracay to foreign and local tourists for six months effective April 26, 2018 was sent to President Duterte yesterday.
Stakeholders in Boracay, such as the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), Tourism Congress Association of the Philippines and Boracay Foundation, on Thursday said the possible closure of Boracay Island may result at least R56 billion in lost revenues and unemployment to 36,000 workers.
The affected groups have now sought a dialogue with the President and other concerned government agencies.
Last month, an irate Duterte labelled the world-famous tourist spot “acesspool” prompting government agencies to inspect establishments, resorts and stakeholders on the island for environmental law violations, particularloy on waste / sewager disposal.
The three agencies had earlier strongly recommended the total closure of the island for one year to give way to massive rehabilitation initiatives.
DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Eduardo M. Año ordered regional and local DILG officials to conduct routine inspections of establishments in their respective jurisdictions for possible violations of environmental and other laws.
Año said that the current problem in Boracay is just a symptom, since the real sickness is the implementation of the law.
“I urge you to help us rectify and solve the problem in Boracay by making a chain of actions in your areas so that other parts of the country will not suffer the same fate,” Año said.
He enjoined them to understand and learn from the Boracay problem and how they can avoid similar situations in their place of assignments.
Tags: Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Boracay Island, DENR, DENR DILG DOT call for 6-month Boracay shutdown, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, Eduardo M. Año, Epimaco Densing III, Philippine Tour Operators Association, Philippine Travel Agencies Association, President Duterte, Tourism Congress Association of the Philippines and Boracay Foundation