MANILA - Palawan province is taking steps to ensure that it will not suffer the same sanitation problems as Boracay Island, which President Rodrigo Duterte had described as a "cesspool," its governor said Thursday.
Inspectors were dispatched to El Nido, one of the island's most popular destinations to check reports of rising E. coli contamination. The same team will inspect 22 other municipalities within the year, Gov. Jose Pepito Alvarez said.
"Hindi po mangyayari sa atin ang nangyari sa Boracay," Alvarez told DZMM. "Wala po kaming problema d'yan [sa crackdown]."
(What happened in Boracay will not happen to us. We have no problem with the crackdown.)
Local officials also strictly enforced environmental laws in the construction of resorts in the province, which saw some 1.3 million tourist arrivals in 2017, the governor said.
Duterte had threatened to shut down Boracay if it fails to address its garbage problems. The environment department on Tuesday said it could not afford a similar crisis in Palawan.
The management of the Puerto Princesa Underground River, meanwhile, belied Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu's statement that ceiling of its caves had darkened possibly because of too many tourists.
The stains were caused by droppings of some 100,000 bats that live in the cave, management said.
It also cited a study by experts from Italy showing that the carbon dioxide concentration in the caves is normal at 1,400 parts per million.
With a report from Chinee Palatino-Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News