Editorial: Let the rehab start now

CLOSING Boracay is more of a gain than a loss.

On Wednesday, April 4, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the closure of the island for six months starting April 26, affirming the recommendation of the inter-agency task force on Boracay to close the famous tourist destination.

The recommendation was made by the task force composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

For years, the island has been a major player in the country's tourism, bringing millions of tourists, local and foreign, annually.

It gained global popularity because of its powdery white sand and clear turqoise water.

But what will happen if operations here cease for half a year?

Sure millions, if not billions, of tourism receipts will be washed away to the seas. It will be a bitter pill to swallow, yes, but a necessary one to address the environmental woes hounding the island, thus, saving the country's one of the best natural treasures.

The closure will create an impact especially to thousands of individuals who would lose their jobs following the order.

The government, however, has sought to place Boracay under state of calamity to extend assistance to those who will be affected by the closure.

We are counting on the government to fulfill its promise of not leaving behind the people and the businesses affected by the closure.

Meanwhile, the closure will also give opportunity for other tourism spots in the Philippines that also deserve tourism attention. But, the local government units and the private sectors must always be reminded not to commit the same mistakes of Boracay.

We cannot afford to destroy another gem our country has.

May sustainable tourism be, always, the only direction our country should take.

Boracay is but a perfect reminder of how our islands should not be abused.

There is so much work to be done to revive the island's situation back to its glorious state. Let the work start now.
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