By Raymund Antonio
A team from Office of the Vice President was prevented from entering Boracay Island during its six-month closure due to rehabilitation work.
Vice President Leni Robredo said on Thursday the OVP personnel attempted to visit the island to determine how her office can help its displaced workers, but was denied entry.
“Iyong three months ago, ang sadya sana namin, habang nakasara pa siya, at least mayroon nang pangsumpay sa buhay, ‘di ba? Kaya lang… hindi natuloy noon,” she told reporters in a chance interview.
(Three months ago, our intention while it was closed, at least they have something to continue on with their lives, right? But..it didn’t push through before.)
“Hindi sila nakapasok. Iyon iyong height yata ng rehabilitation. Baka hindi nagkaintindihan. Kasi iyong sadya sana namin hanapin iyong mga natamaan, hanapin iyong mga natamaan para malaman kung paano matutulungan,” she added.
(They were not able to enter at the height of the rehabilitation. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. Because the point of the visit was to look for those affected so we would how to help them.)
Robredo set foot in Caticlan, Aklan to speak at the Ugyon Pamatan-on Leadership Summit then she proceeded to Batan town in the province for the women’s month culminating activity of the Batan Rural Improvement Club.
She said her office will send the team within the month in Boracay to again look into how they can be of help to residents who lost their jobs and livelihood.
Boracay’s six-month clean up shutdown started on April 26 and was opened to tourists once again last October 26.
A total of 17,735 workers from hotels and restaurants and 2,005 informal sector workers are affected by the closure.
The Vice President plans to link the displaced workers in Boracay to the private partners of her flagship anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay, for employment and livelihood opportunities.
“The other workers were appealing to be reconsidered, but may be it would be better if they can think of alternative means of livelihood,” she said in Filipino.
Despite the fact Robredo’s team was denied entry in Boracay, Robredo said she was “happy with the timely rehabilitation” of the island.
“Kailangan talaga iyong ayusin pero sana hindi rin nakakalimutan iyong mga natatamaan (That had to be fixed but I hope the people affected won’t be forgotten),” she said.
The Vice President also bared her plan to spend vacation in the newly rehabilitated island with her three daughters.