Siargao rehab up next in tourism department's cleanup drive

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2019 04:24 PM

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MANILA - Surfing destination Siargao is up next on the Department of Tourism's list of sites to be rehabilitated, Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Thursday.

Government is "working on" the plan for Siargao as it is currently rehabilitating popular destinations El Nido in Palawan and Panglao in Bohol, said Puyat.

"Siargao is next," she told ANC's Headstart.

Stakeholders in the famed site are “very environmentally conscious” and are following easement rules that prohibit building structures within a certain distance from the coastline on their own, she said.

"I think it would be easier in Siargao because the stakeholders are very cooperative," she said.

Known for its surf breaks and white sand, Siargao was one of the main destinations foreign tourists visited during the closure of Boracay island last year.

It was because of the discovery of other destinations such as Siargao that tourist arrivals rose to 7.1 million in 2018 from the 6.6 million in 2017, said Puyat.

Boracay alone attract about 1 million tourists annually, but its closure during peak months last year was a "blessing in disguise because people realized that there are other places to go to in the Philippines," she said.

The holiday island was closed to public from April to October last year to give way to rehabilitation following orders from President Rodrigo Duterte.