Philippine holiday island to close for clear-up

Philippines to close Boracay to tourists for 6 months
Philippine President Duterte lets justice minister resign, picks new police chief
Author

06 April, 2018

Even before a video that revealed foul-smelling black sewage flowing freely into the crystal blue waters of its white sand beaches went viral earlier this year, the fate of the Philippines' tropical Boracay island had already been sealed.

The amount will come from the national and local governments, as well as the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Labor and Employment (DoLE).

Boracay should be closed down starting June, instead of April, to avoid disruption of peak tourism activities in the area, Senator JV Ejercito said in a Facebook post.

"We have to fast track everything".

"There will be no income and we have bills to pay so I don't know how I will survive".

A representative of Shangri-La said it would issue a statement later, while a source at the Savoy Hotel said it was receiving a lot of re-bookings for when the island reopens. "And the only way to be able to do this is to ask everybody, all the stakeholders to be part of the whole rehabilitation process", Densing said.

So far, the authorities have found 948 illegal structures, half of which they aim to destroy during the closure.

"I am really in a quandary on how to handle six months (of closure)", budget hostel manager Manuel Raagas told AFP.

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But within weeks of Duterte lashing out at the local businesses, the Philippines gave the green light for Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment to begin construction next year of the casino and resort complex.

Since February, Philippine officials have been scrambling to inspect the island and record a catalogue of construction and permit breaches. Right now our lawyers are drafting a potential administrative case, most probably the best way is just to wait until we file.

Philippine Airlines said it will scale down its services to Caticlan and Kalibo airports, the gateways to Boracay, for six months from April following the government's decision.

However, the two airline companies will continue to serve local residents and ensure continuity of commerce in the Northern Panay island, and maintain links between Boracay and Aklan province. The government will provide "alternative and temporary" livelihood support to the workers who will be affected by the shutdown.

It will also increase flights between Cebu and Clark on April 28, and between Manila and Dumaguete as well as Manila and Cagayan de Oro on May 1, respectively.

PAL said it will affect 42 flights per week to Kalibo and 52 flights per week to Caticlan which equivalent to 5,000 to 7,000 passengers seats per week.

"We fully support the government's intention to make Boracay fully safe and environmentally friendly", said Jaime Bautista, the airline's president.

Ang stressed all concerned sectors, including government, businesses, developers, and its residents, must also look beyond the island and move to disperse tourism to nearby municipalities such as Caticlan and Nabas. We seek the understanding of our passengers as your flag carrier and the aviation industry cooperate in this multi-sectoral endeavor.


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