MANILA - Tourist paradise El Nido will not be closed to visitors amid its rehabilitation, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Thursday.
Swimming, however, will be disallowed in Bacuit Bay, where algae was reportedly worse than that of Boracay Island before it was shut down for a 6-month rehabilitation last year, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III earlier said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier recommended the closure of 4 barangays--3 fronting in Bacuit Bay and the fourth covering Corong-Corong Beach--in El Nido where waters have been contaminated with human waste.
Officials said establishments will be given 20 days to comply with requirements to assure water quality and safety.
Located at the northern tip of Palawan, El Nido is one of the Philippines' top tourist destinations, and attracted around 200,000 tourists last year.
Aside from El Nido, the DILG said it was "watching" the tourist islands of Panglao and Coron in the province for a possible cleanup similar to Boracay.
More details to follow.
--With a report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News