MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday threatened charges against Boracay business owners and residents who would refuse to cooperate in the government’s cleanup of the island paradise.
Duterte said the national government must step in as the mess in Boracay, which he earlier called a "cesspool," involves public interest, health, and law and order.
“Sa Boracay, suplado iyung mga tao. Ayaw mag-cooperate,” Duterte said in a speech in Tarlac City.
“It is our interest to preserve its pristine state, just like before… Kung ayaw nila mag-cooperate and they begin to protest… arestuhin ko kayong lahat. If you put up a fight, I’ll arrest you for sedition, preventing the government for doing what is good for the Filipino people.”
Duterte has blamed local government officials for the sorry state of Boracay, famous for its long wide beach and powder-like white sand.
The President on Tuesday said he would declare a state of calamity in Boracay to ensure that funds for its rehabilitation would be released faster.
Several government officials have recommended the temporary closure of Boracay to tourists to make way for its rehabilitation.
The government, however, has yet to decide whether the temporary closure will push through, even as the summer approaches and more tourists have booked hotels in the popular island destination.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte has ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to come up with recommendations and compelled Boracay officials to comply with environmental laws within 6 months.