MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday filed criminal and charges against 17 officials in Aklan province for alleged neglect of duty that resulted in environmental problems on Boracay island.
Among those named in the complaint were Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Malay town Mayor Ciceron Cawaling and Vice Mayor Abram Sualog.
In its complaint, the DILG alleged that the officials violated the Local Government Code and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
It was just the first batch of charges as state auditors are still looking into how local officials had spent environmental fees collected in Boracay in the last 5 years, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III told ANC.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier described the world-renowned beach destination a "cesspool" over its sewage woes. He ordered that the island be closed to tourists for 6 months starting April so establishments may improve sewerage systems and illegal structures encroaching into restricted areas could be torn down.
During the cleanup, officials discovered that some 21 illegal sewer pipes were built, discharging water along the beachfront. Structures breaching the 30-meter easement zone were also demolished.
When the island reopens, Duterte said he wants only a small part left for tourism and its majority turned into a land reform area to prioritize original inhabitants.