Work permits for foreigners on Boracay suspended during closure



The issuing of ‘alien employment permits’ to foreign nationals working on Boracay Island has been suspended.


Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said the temporary suspension included both new applications and extensions for people already working there.

In fact, only foreign nationals commissioned or authorised by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force have been exempted from the suspension.

“Specifically, this includes foreign nationals who come to Boracay to conduct research studies or undertake work related to the island’s rehabilitation,” he said in a statement.


Also exempted from the temporary suspension are permanent resident foreign nationals and probationary or temporary resident visa holders.

The ruling, which was signed on June 26, will apply throughout the period of the island’s closure.

President Duterte ordered the white-sand resort island to be closed for six months after he described it as a “cesspool”.

When the island opens itself after the rehabilitation, the president said he wants only a small area left dedicated to tourism and its majority turned into a land reform area for its indigenous inhabitants.

In the meantime, we have recently reported how a member of the team tasked with cleaning up the island told a Senate inquiry that the island could be ready for a ‘soft opening’ in September.

Epimaco Densing, part of Task Force Boracay, told the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources two weeks ago that the opening could come early, depending on the following milestones:

  • Thirty consecutive days that the water coming out of the island is within safe standards
  • At least 50 per cent of the illegal structures in the island’s wetlands have been dismantled
  • Seventy per cent of the road system and drainage system being built are in place
  • One hundred per cent dismantling of the establishments violating the 25-plus-five easement rule
  • Zero waste at the sanitary landfill
  • The reclamation of the island’s five wetlands
  • Full resolution of drainage issues

In recent days, a video (below) has been circulating on social media apparently showing how far the rehabilitation process has progressed.