MANILA — Following public consultations and series of interagency meetings among the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Tourism (DOT), a decision has been made to recommend the total closure of Boracay.
At a press conference at the DOT office in Makati, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu bared that about 937 illegal structures within forest lands and wetlands have been identified while 102 structures were found violating easement law in the island.
The recommendation is a maximum one year closure, effective one month after its declaration by the President.
According to Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, President Rodrigo R. Duterte was already informed of the interagency group’s decision this afternoon.
During the briefing, DILG chief Eduardo Ano said programs by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Welfare and Development are ready for the island’s laborers bound to be affected by the closure.
In an earlier interview, Teo said total closure eases government’s rehabilitation efforts on the island.
She also added that such sacrifice would benefit the Philippines once Boracay is revived into its pristine condition.
“Sa akin naman, if we do it, after this, dadami talaga yung turista — yung arrivals (For me, if we do it, after this, there will be more tourists’ arrivals)…we will be affected by this, but we have to sacrifice.”
After the issue that plagued Boracay, Teo said the public must understand the importance of preserving and protecting nature destinations in the Philippines
“At least after this Boracay, (dapat) lahat maging conscious na. Kailangan ayusin na natin ang kalikasan (At least, after this Boracay, all should be conscious. We should all take care of the environment).”
At present, DOT is monitoring prominent tourist spots such as Siargao, Palawan and Bohol to prevent what happened in Boracay. Joyce Ann Rocamora/PNA-northboundasia.com