MANILA - The government will not allow structures to be built within 15 kilometers offshore from the shoreline of Boracay island as it embarks on a months-long rehabilitation, a government official said Friday.
"Wala dapat anumang structures 15 kilometers from the shoreline…For maximum of 6 months, dun sa White Beach, sa Bulabog Beach, wala tayong makikitang istraktura,” Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said, adding that the length is counted offshore.
"Sinisigurado lang natin kasi scientifically, yung mga structures na 'yun can also contribute to the degradation of the water system."
Densing said the inter-agency council in charge of the cleanup was also mandated to check each establishment in the island for compliance and not simply depend on documents the owners might present.
He urged business owners to exercise corporate social responsibility and shoulder their employees' salaries for the 6-month closure of the island, saying the billions these establishments earned from January to April should be "more than enough."
"Kung meron silang pagmamahal sa kanilang workers, puwede nilang saluhin. Milyon at bilyon ang kinita nila for many decades, sinira nila halos ang isla. Magkaroon lang ng corporate social responsibility, kaya nilang i-cover yun kung talagang mahal nila ang kanilang workers," he said.
The government is also preparing to assist residents who would lose employment and livelihood during the shutdown, he said.
The holiday island, known for its powdery white sand, would be closed from tourists for a maximum of 6 months starting April 26. Residents may still go in and out of the island as long as they have with them their identification cards and certification that they live in Boracay, said Densing.