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Duterte: No master plan for Boracay, just clean-up of agri area

The government does not have a master plan for the Boracay island aside from allocating P2 billion in calamity funds for locals of the area, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.

"Master plan, wala akong master plan. Linisin ko muna 'yan kasi agricultural area 'yan," he said in a press conference in Davao City.

Just last week, Senators Nancy Binay and Richard Gordon emphasized the need to have a master plan for the entry of tourists to Boracay to address its environmental issues.

Duterte earlier this month approved the recommendation to temporarily close the island to make way for its six-month rehabilitation starting April 26.

The six-month rehabilitation of the island was recommended by the DENR, the DOT, and the DILG last month after Duterte threatened to close down the island after he described the tourist destination as a "cesspool."

In the same press conference, however, Duterte said the entire island of Boracay will be a land reform area and will be given to farmers once the rehabilitation of the area is done.

"You want to know now? I'm going to give the announcement. It's going to be a land reform area for the Filipino," he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier said the six-month closure of the island would at most have a 0.1-percent effect on the gross domestic product (GDP), but this could have "significant" effects on the local economy.

According to stakeholders of the island, the year-long closure of the island could result in at least P56 billion in foregone revenues, and render as much as 36,000 people jobless.

With this, Duterte said the government will make available about P2 billion in calamity funds for locals of Boracay who would be affected by the rehabilitation.

"If you are asking for a financial help, we are going to assign the proclamation of calamity and we can make available about P2 billion of assistance but these are only for the poor Filipinos," he said. —NB, GMA News