MANILA - Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday said cleanup efforts in Boracay would continue even pending President Rodrigo Duterte's signature on the declaration of a state of calamity on the island.
The unsigned declaration is expected to expedite the release of funds for necessary infrastructure works needed on the island, which is set to be shut down for 6 months starting Thursday.
"'Yung paglilinis, especially sa wetland, with or without the closure we will continue cleaning it. And kung wala pa 'yung basis for the authority for us to use calamity funds for the people, I think there are some funds that are available [that] we can use for the meantime," Cimatu told reporters.
"Huminto na sila. On their own, huminto na sila magtrabaho so we might as well use them using other resources. But we just hope that it will be there, 'yung declaration."
During the press briefing, the environment department said it would allot P29 million for the restoration of wetlands, caves, and coastal resources on the tourist island.
The tourism department, meanwhile, allocated P1.1 billion to improve the island's drainage system and P10 million for the training of workers of establishments found compliant with environmental and zoning regulations.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said it has requested a P500-million budget for a 5.2-kilometer road project and drainage system.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, meanwhile, said it would allot P2 billion for displaced workers and P520 million for informal workers.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the absence of the declaration should not be a cause for concern as funds are available anyway.
“The people have been told there will be a state of calamity. It’s just a matter of the President signing the document, and it can be signed anytime,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the 6-month closure of the island paradise, which he earlier described as a cesspool.
The government aims to improve the island’s sewerage system and road networks, eliminate solid waste, remove structures violating shore easement rules, and recover the island’s wetlands, during the 6-month shutdown.