'Very busy' Duterte unlikely to visit Boracay soon: spokesperson

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2020 12:52 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte signs into law the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) during a ceremony at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on Sept. 11, 2020. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte is "very busy" and is unlikely to visit Boracay anytime soon, Malacañang said Friday, as the resort island reopened to more tourists after a nearly 6-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It’s abnormal times, but I’m sure he would love to visit Boracay as well. But right now, he’s actually very busy in Malago [Clubhouse in Malacañang] nowadays, so I don’t think a visit to Boracay in the near future could happen," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. 

"But let’s not discount it because it’s important to encourage people to assist our tourism industry," he told CNN Philippines. 

Boracay on Oct. 1 reopened to tourists from across the country after initially welcoming only travelers from Western Visayas. 

Those who want to visit Boracay need a negative PCR coronavirus test result 48 to 72 hours before their trip. They also need to register online, the tourism department earlier said. 

Boracay tourists should also wear anti-virus masks "all the time" and observe physical distancing. 

The resort island in 2019 closed for 6 months to give way to a rehabilitation of its sewage system. It reopened in October 2019, only to be shuttered again by the pandemic last March. 

Roque on Monday will hold a press briefing at the world-renowned island, he said.