April 5, 2018

Boracay to be closed for 6 months for rehabilitation

Philippine resort island Boracay to be closed for 6 months for rehabilitation. President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of three government agencies to close Boracay down completely for six months beginning April 26 to start its rehabilitation.. 

"Boracay [is] closed for six months effective 26 April," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said. Harry Roque shared that Duterte made the order during a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace late on Wednesday. The recommendation was made by the task force composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The temporary closure is seen by the National Government as a short-term solution to address the environmental woes hounding Boracay.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed Roque's statement, saying that Duterte has indeed approved the "total closure" of the country's most famous tourist destination.

Guevarra said a calamity fund will be activated to help those who will affected by the shutdown, including the residents and the thousands of resort workers who will be displaced.

The island, which has a total land area of 1,064 hectares, has more than 56,000 population, according to government figures.

Duterte has earlier said that he supports the recommendation of three government departments to shut down Boracay for six months to give way to the massive clean-up on the island.

Duterte, who likened the island to a "cesspool," has ordered a crackdown on the island after learning that many of the establishments there have no proper sewerage system and emptying their waste directly into the sea.

Since Duterte gave the order, the government started dismantling illegal structures erected in forest lands and on the beach.

The popular resort island's powdery white sand and calm blue waters attract 2 million visitors yearly.

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