'Cesspool no more': Boracay opening dry run starts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2018 10:45 AM

BORACAY, Aklan - The government on Monday began its 10-day dry run for the October 26 soft opening of this holiday island.

Boracay, once dubbed by President Rodrigo Duterte as a "cesspool," was shuttered for half a year to give way to the rehabilitation of its sewerage system and the demolition of illegal structures.

The island is "now a sight to behold," Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a program for Boracay's opening dry run.

"We now declare that Boracay is no longer a cesspool," he added.

During the dry run, the government will check the island's water quality, solid waste management and transportation system, said Cimatu.

Aklan residents who wish to visit the island will be given priority during the dry run. One thousand rooms will be made available for them on Monday, and another 1,000 the day after, the government earlier said.

The Department of Energy, in the same program, donated 200 electric tricycles that will be distributed to residents of Boracay.

When the island reopens, Duterte had said he wants only a small part left for tourism and its majority turned into a land reform area to prioritize original inhabitants.

The island has been one of the top beach destinations in the Philippines.

In 2017, about 3.7 million tourists flew to the island known for its powdery beaches, data from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines showed.

- With a report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News