MANILA - Government agencies tasked to study and implement rehabilitation options for Boracay will be recommending a temporary shutdown of establishments in the area as they eye to restore the "Island Paradise" to its former glory within 6 months.
Retired General Eduardo Año, officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government, said they would need at least a 60-day shutdown of business operations as they connect establishments and households to the island's sewerage system.
"Meron kaming ire-recommend na closure. Ang pag-uusapan lang dito ay ito ba ay by phasing, ano 'yung phasing—by area ba ito or by date," Año, who was in Boracay to inspect the area, told DZMM Teleradyo Sunday.
(We will recommend a closure by phasing. What's yet to be discussed is the type of phasing. Is it by area or is it by date.)
Residents and business owners, who have been compliant with laws and ordinances, slammed the idea of a total shutdown, saying that only the violators should be part of the closure.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called Boracay, which for years has been the country's top destination, a "cesspool."
The DILG, along with the Environment and Tourism departments, was tasked by Duterte to recommend solutions to the worsening conditions of Boracay, which attracts more than 2 million tourists a year and brings in P56 billion pesos in annual revenues.
"Ang stance talaga namin diyan ay magkaroon ng shutdown. At least 60 days. Mahirap kasi diyan yung pag-connect ng private residences sa sewerage system. Thousands 'yan," said Año, adding they will also demolish establishments of those who violated environmental laws within the period.
(Our stance really is to implement a shutdown for at least 60 days because it will be hard for us to connect private residences to the sewerage system.)
The DILG official added that once the rehabilitation starts, they will also roll out an investigation on local officials who may be responsible for the degradation of the island. He said the timeline given to them to finish the probe is just 3 months.
A Senate probe on the issue of Boracay began last week, as the government works on ways to save the island.