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Implement Boracay closure after summer – Aklan governor

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By Tara Yap

Iloilo City – Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores wants the closure of Boracay Island, which looms next month, to be carried out after the summer season.

“If possible, they should wait for summer to end. There are too many (events) booked already,” Miraflores said during the Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting in Iloilo City Friday.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have recommended to President Duterte a six-month shutdown of the country’s most popular beach destination starting April 26.

Of the estimated 2 million tourists in Boracay last year, an estimated 67,000 people attended various “LaBoracay” events, which happens every end of April until May 1 or Labor Day.

“We would have wanted it done during the lean season, which is the rainy season. That’s when fewer tourists go to Boracay. But of course, that’s their decision,” Miraflores told Manila Bulletin.

Miraflores assured both public and private sectors that the clean-up of Boracaywill continue.

Last February,President Duterte ordered a crackdown on establishments that have been contributing to the deterioration of Boracay’s waters and flouting environment laws.

“We have actually started cleanup of our drainage systems,” Mirafloressaid.

Miraflores also reiterated the commitments of the provincial government, Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) of Aklan and Boracay.

“We have established timelines and we will proceed with our own rehabilitation efforts. Hopefully, this can help the national government and shorten the closure period,” he said.

Stakeholders in Boracay have been wondering how the national government will implement the closure and what will happen afterwards.

“Until now, we are in the dark. As if the stakeholders have nothing to contribute on planning our very own existence in the months to come once the island is closed,” BFI President Nenette Aguirre-Graf told Manila Bulletin.

“The people are worried about jobs, food, education, and security of their children. What will the [national] government do with them?” added Graf, who is also a town councilor of Malay, of which Boracay is a part.

DILG Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III urged all stakeholders to cooperate in rehabilitating the island.

“I asked them not to resist anymore. At the end of the day, the rehabilitation of the island is something everybody will benefit from,” Densing said.

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