Duterte: Don’t pester me, I’m just cleaning up Boracay
CEBU CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday assured residents of Boracay that the resort island would be returned to them after its six-month cleanup.
In a Labor Day speech in Cebu City, the President reiterated the need to clean up Boracay, which is plagued by environmental pollution caused by sewage mismanagement.
The President also reiterated that the entire island was technically classified as agricultural and forest land, and questioned how multibillion-peso businesses had been established there.
“[D]on’t pester me, because I am just cleaning it. But after that, I will return it to you. No one wants to take the island from you,” the President said, addressing the residents of Boracay.
State of calamity
The world-famous resort island was closed to tourism on April 26 and the President declared a state of calamity there to free up funds for financial assistance to the residents who were losing their livelihoods due to the shutdown.
The President said the aid would become available starting this month.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said 17,735 islanders would benefit from the aid, which would be drawn from the P13-billion calamity fund in this years national budget.
The Social Security System (SSS) is also offering emergency loans to the people of Boracay to tide them over until the reopening of the island to tourism.
Islanders can apply for loans from May 2 until Oct. 31, according to SSS president and chief executive Emmanuel Dooc.
Help from 4Ps
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is relaxing the rules for accessing services under its poverty-easing programs to help the residents of Boracay.
DSWD officer in charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said on Tuesday that the agency would loosen guidelines for beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to help the islanders.
Formerly known as conditional cash transfer program, 4Ps provides cash grants to the poorest of of the poor in the country.
At the Faith Village resort in Boracay, first aid workers came to the rescue of at least four people who had fallen ill while they were queuing for cash being distributed by officials.
At least two of those who were given first aid treatment suffered from high blood pressure. —Reports from Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Melvin Gascon and Nestor Burgos
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