No exact date yet on Boracay Island closure: DOT

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2018 09:33 AM | Updated as of Jan 23 2020 03:26 PM

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MANILA – The Department of Tourism on Friday said there is no set date yet for the closure of Boracay Island.

"Ang petsa ay depende sa petsa na mapipirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte--yung state of calamity," said DOT spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre.

Alegre told DZMM that they are just waiting for the Office of the President to review the recommendations of the DOT, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the shutdown of the popular tourist destination.

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.

"'Yung petsa ng anunsiyo, kasunod niyan 30 days after ang proposed shutdown of the Island of Boracay," he said.

He said this would allow more time for resort owners and airlines and even concerned government agencies to prepare for the massive and unhampered clean-up on the island.

He added that DOT Secretary Wanda Teo met with stakeholders like airline and hotel representatives and listened to their concerns on the closure. Teo, he said, requested them to not charge rebooking or cancellation fees to affected tourists who want to change destinations.

Alegre said tourists may visit other beach destinations in the country.

He said workers displaced by the island closure would be able to get assistance from government.

"Doon sa workers, under state of calamity, we have the chance to support in terms of funds doon sa mga madi-dislocate na workers not only in Boracay Island, pati yung maapekto sa Caticlan at sa Kalibo," he said.

Meanwhile, Alegre said the government is not only focusing on Boracay Island alone. He said they are now looking into possible violations committed by other popular tourist spots in the country.

"El Nido, Coron, we have to check on that, Panglao, Bohol, itong area ng Puerto Galera dumating na rin ang report sa amin. And then we've seen reports in Ilocos Norte, Pagudpud. We want to check on Siargao," he said.