Duterte okays closure of Boracay for 6 months starting April 26


MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the recommendation to close Boracay for six months starting April 26, his spokesperson said on Wednesday night.

“Bora closed for 6 mos effective 26 April,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said on his official Twitter account after the Cabinet meeting.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that Duterte approved the proposal of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Tourism (DENR, DILG, DOT) after an “exhaustive” discussion.

Guevarra also said that calamity funds would be activated for the workers affected by the closure.

Before the meeting, he said Boracay’s closure will be the Cabinet meeting’s top agenda.

The DENR, DILG, and DOT have been pushing for the total closure of the island, while other departments, such as the Department of Trade and Industry have recommended partial closure to assure that businesses and livelihood in the area are not largely affected, Guevarra said.

Duterte first threatened to close Boracay last February after lamenting that the top tourist destination has turned into a “cesspool” for its poor sewerage system.

He warned that if the environmental problems are not addressed, there will be a time that no foreigners will want to visit the island.

Over the years, tourism and development have taken a toll on the world-famous island resort known for its fine white sand and turquoise waters.

Over two million tourists visited Boracay last year, according to the DOT. PNA-northboundasia.com