Pimentel backs 60-day closure of Boracay, says it’s ‘logical’
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III threw his support Wednesday behind the proposal to temporarily close Boracay Island to tourists for at least two months.
“It is only logical to close Boracay for renovations, so to speak. We must carefully assess the damage to the local environment and take the necessary steps for a cleanup. The process is more easily done and more effective if there are no tourists around,” Pimentel said in a statement.
“I understand the difficulties of closing the island for two months, but it is only temporary. It will be good in the long run for all stakeholders, including the tourists who are there for the natural beauty of the island,” he added.
In an interview last Friday, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo disclosed that she and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año talked about closing down business establishments on the resort island from June 1 to July 31.
“It’s total closure … because we have to repair the roads, drainage. And the demolition [of structures within the 30-meter easement zone] might be dangerous to tourists,” Teo was quoted in a media report as saying.
Pimentel said closing tourist destinations to preserve them was “nothing new,” citing as example the closure of Thailand’s Koh Tachai island in May 2016 for similar reasons.
The Senate committee on environment being headed by Senator Cynthia Villar is conducting a probe on alleged violations of environmental laws by certain establishments on the island. /cbb
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