MANILA - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is ready to face any legal challenge to the upcoming closure of Boracay island, an official said Friday.
The agency, one of the 3 government departments tasked to clean up the holiday island, is expecting such complaints, especially from affected hotels, said Usec. Jonas Leones.
"It is within their right to seek redress from courts, but we always emphasize to them that what we are doing in Boracay will not only benefit the island, but the whole country as well," he told reporters.
"Sinasabi namin na pansamantala lang ito at para sa inyo rin naman na maayos natin yung environmental conditions there. Kung magfa-file sila, we will be facing them in the court," he said.
Leones said the government has been relatively slow in undertaking its rehabilitation plans on the island famous for its powder white sand and releasing issuance violations to the concerned establishments "because we want to make sure we follow the procedural requirements so that if these cases will reach the court, medyo prepared din tayo" (were also prepared).
President Rodrigo Duterte, who has said the garbage situation in the island has turned it into a "cesspool," has decided that the holiday island will be closed from tourists for 6 months starting April 26, according to his spokesperson.
The government is expected to lose about P56 billion from tourism revenue during the closure, with tens of thousands to lose their jobs.