President Duterte has warned that he might close Boracay, describing the popular white-sand beach resort as a “cesspool”.
“I will close Boracay. Boracay is cesspool,” he said during a business forum in Davao City yesterday (Friday, February 9).
He said that during his last visit there, he had seen for himself how trash was just 20 metres away from the beach.
“But you go into the water, it’s smelly,” he said, saying that the waste and pollution was in danger of destroying the environment.
The president also said that if environmental problems were not addressed in the area, “there will be a time that no foreigners will want to visit the island”.
The president earlier gave Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu only six months to solve environmental woes at the country’s top beach destination.
“I told Cimatu, ‘I’ll give you six months’,” he reiterated.
As we reported this week, Cimatu and Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo conducted an aerial inspection of Boracay and disclosed that a draft Executive Order had been created to recommend the creation of a new task force “to address once and for all” the problems in Boracay.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary for Media Affairs Kat De Castro earlier said that the Malacañang is now studying the draft but in the meantime, the immediate solution would be to task the two agencies to ensure that laws were properly implemented.
“The president said they would review the Executive Order, he basically wants immediate action. He wants the environmental laws to be implemented right away so basically he’s giving a six-month deadline to DENR and DILG to fix the problem of Boracay,” she said.
Data from the DOT showed that tourist arrivals on the island reached over two million last year. A proposal for a 1,001-room hotel is just the latest large-scale plans put forward for the island.