MANILA - The D'Mall commercial center in Boracay was not built on wetlands contrary to the government's claim, a mall official said Thursday.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources must have been "misinformed" on D'Mall location, said Rudolph Jularbal, head of the Legal and Regulatory Compliance Group for the commercial center owned by the Elizalde family.
The mall, which was established in 2004 and houses about 120 restaurants and shops, was built across a wetland according to a 2008 map, but the one hectare property was not on reclaimed wetland, said Jularbal.
A creek -- which was considered a "sanitary hazard" at that time -- once traversed part of the property, but before construction, the company proposed to install a culvert so the rainwater can pass through, he said.
"Based on the definition of a wetland, their reference is made to mangroves and other bodies of water. The creek is not one which was identified as a wetland. In fact, it’s logical to put a waterway, a culvert in any creek," Jularbal told ANC's Headstart.
"The Elizalde family feels that misinformation is being spread. D’Mall is a complex that draws the tourists there… We feel that we’re being accused of something that has no basis," he said.
Interior and Local Government Asec. Epimaco Densing on Tuesday said D'Mall might be demolished as part of cleanup efforts.
President Rodrigo Duterte has decided that the holiday island, known for its powder white sand and clear water, will be closed from tourists for 6 months starting April 26, according to his spokesperson.