ILOILO CITY - Some 17,000 workers in Boracay could lose their jobs should government shut the island down during lean months to give way to a massive cleanup, a labor representative said Wednesday.
The regional wage board with jurisdiction over Boracay signed a resolution asking President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider the planned closure of the island to tourists.
Duterte had called the island a "cesspool" as some establishments drain human waste into its blue waters due to a lack of adequate sewage.
"If there are those who violated the law, let's punish them. But it should be studied for the sake of the 17,735 workers and their families [who] would be undergoing economic deprivation if the closure will push through," said Wennie Sancho, a labor representative in the wage board.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources earlier ordered the closure of 51 establishments in Boracay.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said the government might close Boracay to tourists from July to October to preserve the island famed worldwide for its long strips of white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.