Neda: Boracay closure hurt, but is needed
The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) conceded that there were social and economic costs in closing Boracay, but maintained it was necessary to rehabilitate the resort island.
“Right now, we must look to the future and take a concerted effort to improve the conditions of Boracay,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement on Friday.
“We must restore its beauty which has captivated and drawn people from all over the world for a long time,” added Pernia, who heads Neda.
Price to pay
Neda earlier estimated that the six-month closure of Boracay island will shed only 0.1 percent off the country’s gross domestic product.
“The Boracay closure, notwithstanding its social and economic impact, will pave the way for the rehabilitation and improvement of the solid waste management and sewerage systems, along with the protection of ecologically fragile areas in the island,” the agency’s regional office said.
It said the national government had already implemented emergency measures while the Aklan provincial government had started to clean up Malay town, ahead of its closure to tourists starting on April 26.
Early this month, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said the government already had plans for affected businesses and workers.
“We do have a count already of how many would be affected,” Edillon had said.
“At the macro level, it doesn’t have to be that bad,” she said.
“But, of course, the short-term impact could be significant, especially for Malay,” she added.
Malay, Edillon said, could still accept tourists who could be accommodated outside the areas covered by President Duterte’s closure order.
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