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Boracay traders confused over closure plans

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By Tara Yap

Iloilo City — The biggest business group in Boracay, Aklan is still confused on how the government will implement the six-month closure of the holiday island that starts April 26.

“We are as confused as everyone else, because the pronouncement came too soon with no clear and specific guidelines presented to us,” the Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI) said in an April 5 statement.

The group said it wants to know the specific plan of action and the timeline in implementing the shutdown.

It also wants to know who will be in charge once sanctions or punishments are imposed against the municipal government of Malay, to which Boracay belongs.

“Who will be in charge of Boracay? What is the extent of their authority?” BFI said.

It also asked a clear explanation on how the government will identify displaced workers eligible for financial support; the documentary requirements, and when the aid will be released.

While the 1,032-hectare island is closed to tourists, BFI is wondering how the movement of the island’s 50,000 residents to and from Boracay will be regulated.

It asked if residents are assured of stable supply of basic necessities such as rice, food, toiletries and utility services such as water and electricity.

Echoing the concerns of small businesses, BFI wants to know if government can intervene in behalf of traders who had taken out loans earlier, since closing down businesses would mean loss of income.

It also asked if there is a benchmark required to hasten the rehabilitation and reopen the island in less than six months.

“We should all see ourselves as working side by side, attacking the problems constructively, instead of confronting each other. We are optimistic that all the uncertainties that we are currently facing will soon be resolved,” BFI said.

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