TARLAC - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, March 7, warned that he will order the arrest of "nonchalant" local government officials who refuse to cooperate with the national government in rehabilitating the resort island of Boracay.
"If they do not want to cooperate and they begin to protest, that's your fault. You are responsible for the damage (in Boracay) all these years. Even those local officials who are all nonchalant of the problem there, I will arrest you all," he said in a speech delivered during the 145th founding anniversary of Tarlac held here at Tarlac City's Bulwagang Kanlahi.
Duterte said those who disregard his order to clean up the island within six months might face sedition charges.
"If you put up a fight, then I'll charge you for sedition, preventing government to do what is good for the Filipino people," he said.
Duterte's pronouncement came a day after he announced that he might heed the proposal of the Department of Interior and Local Government to place Boracay under a state of calamity if the sewerage and waste management problems are not resolved within six months.
In his latest remark, the President lamented that residents of Boracay seemed to be non-cooperative, even after he had given instructions to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to clean up the island within six months.
"People in Boracay are snobbish. They do not want to cooperate. You know, in Boracay, there are three basic issues that government must intervene," Duterte said.
"One, it is a health issue. (It is) the right of a government to intervene or interdict to promote public health. Second, public interest, because if you ignore its current state, time will come when it is so polluted, it can no longer be of use for the next generation. It is to our interest to preserve its pristine state just like before," he added. (SunStar Philippines)