MALAY, Aklan - Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday her aides were denied entry to Boracay island when they attempted to check on residents during its 6-month closure.
The famed beach destination, which President Rodrigo Duterte dubbed as a "cesspool," was shuttered for a half-year clean-up in April. It reopened to tourists in late October.
"Nandito na kami 3 months ago para gawin 'yun (pagbisita), pero hindi kami pinayagan that time... Mayroon yatang rules dati 'yung inter-agency task force," she told ABS-CBN News on the sidelines of a youth workshop here.
(We were here 3 months ago to visit, but we were not allowed to do so at that time. The inter-agency task force seemed to have rules.)
Robredo said she would visit the island, located in this town, some other time as she has other commitments in Batan town in Aklan, Roxas City in Capiz, and Iloilo province until Friday.
In the meantime, she said her team was checking how it could help some Boracay residents who reportedly need livelihood assistance.
"Wala naman kaming masyadong pondo, pero mayroon naman kaming partners na maaasahan na baka puwedeng magpadala ng tulong," she said.
(We don't have much funds, but we have reliable partners who could probably send help.)
Duterte is expected to visit Boracay Thursday to distribute government-owned to the lumads or indigenous people.
The island, which had grappled with sewage woes, overcrowding and poorly regulated development, reopened on Oct. 26 following massive cleanup and rehabilitation.