MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday revealed the possibility of President Rodrigo Duterte sending Marines to Boracay to help in the removal of illegal structures built on the island paradise.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the local government was considering asking the President to deploy Marines to the island to help in the rehabilitation efforts of the tourist destination.
“The last that I heard is that the local government may even ask the President for assistance to call in the Marines if need be. So when I heard that report, I told them, send the letter because I’m sure the President will not hesitate to send in the Marines and even use dynamites to blow up that illegal structure there,” Roque said in a news conference.
Duterte has expressed concern over the current state of the island, known for its beach with powdery white sand that has attracted tourists the world over.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Department of the Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año on Thursday announced a joint recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte for the total closure of Boracay.
Teo said Boracay should be shut down completely for a few months to facilitate rehabilitation. Tourists may visit other beach destinations in the meantime, she said.
She said Boracay may be shut down for at least 6 months.
The three agencies recommended the closure of Boracay island as a tourist destination for a maximum of one year, effective one month after its declaration.
The government is expected to release its decision on Boracay on March 26.