President Rodrigo Dutere will have the final say on whether Boracay will be off-limits to tourists for up to 60 days while construction activities are being carried out for the completion of the sewerage plant all over the world-famous island in Malay, Aklan, which continues to suffer from ecological degradation and was described by the chief executive as a “cesspool.”
“’Yon ang nagiging proposal…Inter-agency kasi ‘yang nag-uusap pero ang final decision s’yempre na kay Pangulong Duterte,” said Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre durng an interview with DZRH Friday morning.
He said the inter-agency task force, whose members include the DOT, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, wanted to temporarily close the resort-island from tourists to fast-track rehabilitation efforts and also ensure that nobody would be affected or hurt once heavy equipment are brought to Boracay and start operations.
“(A)yaw mong mailagay sa alanganin ang mga tao…(They should be) kept out of harm’s way…pag pumasok ang mga traktora, heavy equipment, medyo mayayanig ‘yong isla. Gusto rin kasi ng DILG na walang masaktan…habang ginagawa ‘yan,” said Alegre.
The DOT official during his interview with DZRH did not give an estimate on how much revenue would be lost if the 60-day shutdown would push through. He said the island would still continue earning income from local residents and establishments even if a closure would be imposed.
“May uniqueness ‘yong Boracay…may community…may establishments…may supermarket,” said Alegre.
He said there were recommendations from the inter-agency task force to temporarily close Boracay during the lean or low season season or after LaBoracay, the summer party on the island that usually lasts until May 1.