Boracay closure: Task force to tap LGUs if Duterte won’t sign EO
BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan — If President Rodrigo Duterte won’t sign the executive order (EO) formalizing the closure and rehabilitation of this resort island six months, the interagency task force would turn to the province of Aklan and the municipality of Malay.
The task force is, however, optimistic that Malacañang would hand down the order before midnight.
“We’re still hoping that Malacañang, the President will sign the declaration of state of calamity hopefully before midnight,” Epimaco Densing, Assistant Secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), said in a press conference here.
Densing added that part of the recommendations of the National Risk Reduction Management Council (NRRMC) is a one-year declaration of a state of calamity in the three barangays of Boracay Island.
The EO is needed to formally create the task force composed of the departments of tourism, interior, environment, social welfare, public works, agrarian reform, the police, and labor.
A formal declaration is also required for the release of funds, not only to rehabilitate the island but also to assist the residents and workers whose livelihood depends on tourism.
The verbal order of the President, however, stands without the EO “as long as this was supported by the right reasons,’ according to Densing.
He stressed that the NDRRMC had already created a report on Boracay and noted that the order was made for the “right reason.”
Densing said that in the absence of a declaration of state of calamity from the President, all actions of the task force may be coursed through the local government unit.
Aklan Governor Florencio Milaflores expressed support for the move to rehabilitate the island, but he expressed concern about the impact of Boracay’s closure on the province’s economy.
Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawaling also said he supports the President’s order, but he was noticeably absent at the interagency task force meeting on Wednesday.
“It’s quite unusual that the Mayor Cawaling is not around because everything will have to pass through him,” Densing noted.
He added: “By all means he has to cooperate. We don’t want the rehabilitation to be hostaged by one, two or three officials.”
The DILG official also called on businessmen not to hinder the process by protesting against the demolition of illegal properties. /ee
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