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Gov’t hails survey backing Boracay closure

Updated

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government felt vindicated after a survey showed majority of Filipinos supported the government’s move to shut down Boracay for its massive rehabilitation.

BORACAY DOWNTIME – Once teeming with foreign and local tourists, only local residents can be seen strolling on this stretch of White Beach in Boracay Island on Friday, a day after it was closed to visitors for a six-month rehabilitation and cleanup drive. (Tara Yap)

BORACAY DOWNTIME – Once teeming with foreign and local tourists, only local residents can be seen strolling on this stretch of White Beach in Boracay Island on Friday, a day after it was closed to visitors for a six-month rehabilitation and cleanup drive. (Tara Yap/MANILA BULLETIN)

“Palace vindicated and welcomes the support of the people,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a brief message to reporters.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed 64 percent of the 1,200 respondents agreed to shut down Boracay for a year to allow rehabilitation works, 20 percent disagreed, and 17 percent were undecided.

In survey conducted last March, majority of the respondents believed that the closure would help increase the number of tourists in the future.

President Duterte earlier authorized the six-month shutdown of Boracay to tourists to pave the way for the rehabilitation of the island, which he described as a cesspool. The popular beach destination is expected to reopen this October.

Duterte also said he intends to implement a land reform program in Boracay by returning the land to the locals. He said it was up to the land reform beneficiaries if they would sell their properties to the big businessmen in the future.

The President said while Boracay remains an agricultural and forestal land, he would leave it to Congress to decide on the commercial phase of the island.

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