MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday said the interior department would not let unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the shutdown of Boracay, following Sen. Panfilo Lacson's allegations that barangay officials were extorting money from local businesses in exchange for identification cards for non-residents.
“I’m sure the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) will look into this. Believe me, Secretary [Eduardo] Año will not tolerate this if this can be proven,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Lacson had alleged that some barangay officials in Boracay were asking for as much as P400,000 from local businesses in exchange for granting IDs to their non-resident employees.
The police have said that barangay officials could only issue a barangay clearance, community tax certificate or cedula, and a barangay ID for bona fide Boracay residents. These documents only cost P500.
The police and the local government of Malay, Aklan are now gearing up for the 6-month closure of Boracay that would start on Thursday.
During the 6-month closure, only residents bearing a valid government ID indicating their address would be allowed to enter.
Government officials said the island’s sewerage system and road networks have to be improved and its wetlands and forestlands recovered before the popular tourist destination could be reopened.