Closing of Boracay, political will - Teo

THE announcement to close down Boracay came as a shock to many, but not to those who know President Rodrigo Duterte.

The disaster that is the environment of Boracay has long been known. But no one dared take action as it continues to bring in tourist receipts by the millions.

In a stakeholder's conference with Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in Marco Polo Hotel on Friday afternoon, she attributed the closure to political will.

"In my term, I am doing something. That's my promise," she said during an interview with SunStar Davao.

The secretary who used to belong in the private sector as a travel agent, also shared that a political personality blurted in her face that whatever the department is doing, it's just "ningas kugon" (a Filipino idiomatic expression meaning someone is just good at the beginning).

"That's not me. I am challenged [to prove you wrong]," she said staying positive on her stance as she shares with the president's idea of not compromising the environment for economic growth.

Actions taken

Days after President Duterte called the island a cesspool and threatened to shut it down in six months if the private sector do not follow the regulations of the government, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu warned commercial establishments releasing untreated sewage into Boracay's waters to "shape up" or risk being shut down.

In a press release from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Cimatu said erring establishments must either install their own wastewater treatment facilities or connect to the Boracay Island Water Company sewage treatment plant within two months.

"The DENR is giving them two months to comply with the law. Otherwise, we will close them," Cimatu said in a press release.

Saving Boracay

Teo lauds the effort of the DENR saying its "high time to order the closure of some 200 tourism establishments in Boracay found violating environmental laws and regulations".

"The massive clean-up drive of Boracay is a bitter pill that we have to swallow if we were to collectively save and sustain the island," she said.

For its part, the DOT will continue to market the primary destinations and aggressively promote the emerging ones which is the thrust of this administration to ensure inclusive growth.
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