BORACAY ISLAND - Senators on Friday opened their investigation on environmental problems besetting this tourism center that threatens to displace thousands, with one lawmaker likening the degradation to Manila's most crowded centers.
The Senate inquiry came after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to shut down the island, calling it a "cesspool." Officials earlier said that some hotels drained human waste into the sea.
"Para po kayong nasa Divisoria, at parang papunta kayo sa Cartimar at Pasay," said Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, referring to two of the most chaotic shopping districts in the capital.
(It's like you're in Divisoria and like going to Cartimar.)
"Metro Manila with a beach front property, and that is sad," Zubiri said. "Boracay has clearly gone over its carrying capacity in terms of population and development."
The total closure of Boracay could displace some 19,000 workers, said Sen. Joel Villanueva. Tourism revenue on the island reached P56 billion last year, he said.
"Ayaw po nating mamatay ang turismo natin dito sa mahal na isla nating ito," he said.
(We don't want tourism to die here, in our beloved island.)
Villanueva said establishments in Boracay should comply with environmental laws, particularly the Clean Water Act.
-- reports from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News