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64% of Pinoys support Boracay closure for full rehabilitation

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By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz

More than half of Filipinos are supportive of the government’s plan to close Boracay to tourists for one year for the full rehabilitation and recovery of the seriously degraded island, a special survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

Locals stroll and enjoy the white beach of Boracay Island in this photo taken April 27, the day after the resort island was closed off to tourists for six months. Department of Tourism (DOT) maintained that economic activities are still ongoing despite the closure.  (Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)

Locals stroll and enjoy the white beach of Boracay Island in this photo taken April 27, the day after the resort island was closed off to tourists for six months. Department of Tourism (DOT) maintained that economic activities are still ongoing despite the closure. (Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)

The nationwide survey conducted from March 23 to March 27 among 1,200 respondents found that 64 percent of Filipino adults agreed (38 percent strongly agreed, 26 percent somewhat agreed), and 20 percent disagreed (10 percent strongly disagreed, 10 percent somewhat disagreed), with the government’s recommendation to close the entire island of Boracay to tourists for one year for full rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, 17 percent were undecided about the matter.

This translated to a net agreement score (percent agree minus percent disagree) of +44, classified by SWS as “very strong.”

The SWS terminology for net agreement are as follows: +50 and above, extremely strong; +30 to +49, very strong; +10 to +29, moderately strong; +9 to -9, neutral; -10 to -29, moderately weak; -30 to -49, very weak; and -50 and below, extremely weak.

There is a stronger support for the one-year closure of Boracay in Mindanao, urban areas, and among those with higher education, SWS said.

Net agreement with the government’s recommendation to close Boracay was highest in Mindanao at +55 (68 percent agree, 13 percent disagree), followed by Metro Manila at +49 (69 percent agree, 20 percent disagree), rest of Luzon at +45 (64 percent agree, 20 percent disagree), and Visayas at +26 (53 percent agree, 27 percent disagree).

Likewise, net agreement was extremely strong at +50 (68 percent agree, 18 percent disagree) in overall urban areas, compared to the very strong +38 (59 percent agree, 21 percent disagree) in overall rural areas.

Filipinos’ support for the closure of Boracay was stronger among those with higher educational attainment: net agreement was highest among college graduates at +54 (70 percent agree, 16 percent disagree), followed by high school graduates at +50 (69 percent agree, 18 percent disagree), non-elementary school graduates at +34 (55 percent agree, 20 percent disagree), and elementary school graduates at +33 (57 percent agree, 23 percent disagree).

The survey also found that 64 percent of Filipinos (37 percent definitely help, 28 percent somewhat help) believe that the closure would help rehabilitate the nature in the island.

About 16 percent answered it would not help (8 percent somewhat not help, 8 percent definitely not help), while 20 percent were undecided about the matter.

The respondents were also asked about their opinion whether the closure would help increase the number of tourists in the future or not.

Sixty-one percent answered it would help (consisting of 36 percent saying it will definitely help and 25 percent somewhat help), while 16 percent answered it would not help (consisting of 9 percent somewhat not help and 7 percent definitely not help).

Twenty-three percent were undecided about the issue.

SWS pointed out that the proportion of those who said the closure of Boracay would help (percent definitely help, percent somewhat help) rehabilitate the nature in the island was higher among those who agreed with the government’s recommendation to close the island (83 percent) compared to those who disagreed (32 percent), and those who were undecided about it (31 percent.

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