​​Palace: Boracay closure raises urgency to improve businesses’ environmental compliance

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DAVAO CITY (May 23) — The President’s decision to close down Boracay has set in motion a much-needed compliance audit for more than 1,000 business establishments in the island.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing gave updates on the government’s ongoing clean-up drive for Boracay, almost a month since President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the island’s total shutdown to tourists.

Roque further said that only 25 out of more than 1,000 inspected establishments in the island are compliant with the government’s environmental requirements.

“Mabuti nga po naisara na ang Boracay dahil ngayong sarado siya, nagkakaroon tayo ng compliance audit at lumalabas na halos walang compliant talaga diyan sa isla na ‘yan,” the Spokesperson stressed.

He noted that the island’s closure paved the way for government to detect which business owners have been violating environmental laws by directly discharging their waste water into Boracay’s white beach.

“Isang mabuting balita po ‘yan na malaman natin na andami palang mga hotel na may mga tubo na papunta mismo sa white beach… ‘Yan po ang kinabuti na walang tao ngayon sa Boracay at nakikita natin lahat ng dapat bigyan ng solusyon,” Roque said.

The Cabinet Secretary also clarified that all construction activities in the island will remain suspended during the rehabilitation period. He said even those that have been issued permits by the government will be suspended from further building.

“Wala po ngayong pupwedeng mag-construct. So kung meron mang napirmahan [permit], suspended po ang work. At napakadali namang i-monitor niyan kasi pati ‘yung labas-pasok ng mga materyales, kontrolado,” he said.

Meanwhile, to cushion the impact of the island’s closure on the labor force, the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be implementing a cash-for-work (CFW) program for affected residents and informal workers in Boracay, Malacañang announced.

Secretary Roque said beneficiaries from the three villages of Balabag, ManocManoc, and Yapak can now access the CFW program for a 30-day period.

The recipients would receive 100 percent of the regional wage rate, which amounts to P323.50 per day or P9, 705 per month, he added.

Two types of work were classified under the said program. Among which are labor works such as digging, dredging, desilting canals and drainage systems, planting trees, clearing pathways, shelter/facility repair; demolition of illegal infrastructure; clearing debris, garbage collection, installation of support facilities; and, other similar work.

Technical or office works will also be available for the beneficiaries, including assisting in enumeration tasks/profiling; report preparation; preparation of replenishment and liquidation reports; disbursement during actual payment operations; camp management; and operations center work, among others.

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