President Rodrigo Duterte might soon declare a ‘state of calamity’ over the entire island of Boracay, according to sources. This possible move is still in line with the national administration’s aim to finally seize all environmental woes in the popular tourism island.
Based on various media reports, the pending state of calamity declaration would be backed by the need to address “the impact of pollution on tourism, public health, and public safety.”
Resolving environment problems
President Duterte has tasked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to resolve the island’s environmental problem within six months.
In response, the DILG has proposed a 6-month state of calamity along with a 2-month (60-day) shutdown of all businesses in Boracay. DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año said these measures would be necessary for them to be able to complete a cleanup and resolve all related problems.
If the President would agree to DILG’s proposal, the island would temporarily be closed from June 1 to July 31 this year to give way to initial rehabilitation efforts. If this plan pushes through, no business in the island would be allowed to operate during the period. Airlines would also be asked to reimburse or reschedule booked flights that would coincide with the date range.
Employees of businesses that may be affected by the proposed two-month closure would receive financial assistance so they could still earn a living during the moratorium.
Several weeks ago, President Duterte surprised everyone when he threatened to shut down Boracay, which he said has turned into a ‘cesspool.’ Based on a number of reports, some establishments allegedly do not maintain septic tanks and instead dispose their wastes directly to the sea through large pipes.