The Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Tourism have reached a decision to recommend the closure of island resort Boracay to take effect on April 26 and valid for six months thereafter.
DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco Densing III told GMA News Online that the decision was finalized on Thursday.
DOT Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre also confirmed that the recommendation was reached by the inter-agency task force after a meeting with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores.
Densing said a letter recommending the closure of Boracay to foreign and local tourists for six months effective April 26, 2018 will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday.
“The letter-recommendation will be sent to tomorrow to the office of President thru ES (Executive Secretary) Salvador Medialdea,” Densing said in a text message.
Calling the world-famous vacation spot a “cesspool” in February, Duterte threatened to close Boracay.
His statement triggered a crackdown on establishments and stakeholders on the island for violations of environmental laws and policies.
The agencies earlier proposed the total closure of the island for a year to make way for rehabilitation efforts.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had said the possible closure would not take place during the peak season or during the summer break.
“Proceed to Boracay, especially since it's Holy Week. I don’t think any closure will happen during the peak season of Boracay,” Roque said at a press briefing.
Stakeholders in Boracay, among them the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), Tourism Congress Association of the Philippines, and Boracay Foundation, on Thursday said the impending closure of the prime tourist destination may result in at least P56 billion in foregone revenues and render 36,000 people jobless.
They are now seeking a dialogue with the government. —BAP/KG, GMA News