Davao City Philippines — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has warned to close Boracay, the country’s top beach destination, if environmental problems there would remain unsolved.
“I will close Boracay. Boracay is cesspool,” Duterte said during a Manila Times business forum in Davao city Friday night.
Duterte described “You go into the water, it’s smelly. Smell of what? Shit. Because everything that goes out in Boracay…it’s destroying the environment or the Republic of the Philippines and creating a disaster coming.”
The President predicted that eventually, Boracay – one of the world’s best island destinations – will cease to attract tourists.
“There will be a time that no more foreigner will go there because he will have – when he goes back to the plane to where he belongs – he will be full of shit going back and forth to the restroom,” said Duterte.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in a press conference held here last 12, said it needs billions to to rehabilitate Boracay.
The Tourism department according to Teo, tried their best to remind the local government units to do their share to save Boracay but nothing has happened.
Big establishments and hotels in Boracay do not even have enough sewerage treatment facilities and their waste directly go to the water.
Teo said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) constructed a drainage for drained water only, but hotel owners connect their sewerage and waste to the facility “Which “is not supposed to be the process, they should have their own treatment plant and the local government is helpless.”
In many occasions, Teo said TIEZA personnel detached the drainage connections but “When they leave the place, again, the hotel owners and big business establishments reconnect their pipes to the drainage system.”
Most if not all hotel in Boracay do not have water treatment facilities and their waste directly flows to the beach.
She revealed, a tourist complained skin problems and itchiness after taking a dip in Boracay waters.
She added, the local government of Boracay, even allowed the construction of a building within the 25-meter buffer zone “Dapat kasi bawal yon but the local government allowed the owners to build their guildings sa dagat,” Teo added.
The DOT even proposed a multi-agency task force dubbed as “Save Boracay” at least to help in the rehabilitation effort.
Last Friday night, Duterte ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu 6 months to address the environmental problems in Boracay, particularly the non-compliance of business establishments to environmental regulations.
Duterte, in the last Cabinet meeting, also approved “in principle” an executive order creating a task force to solve Boracay’s environmental woes.
Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed that tourist arrivals on the island reached over 2 million last year.
Teo also said, they stopped promoting Boracay due to the environmental and sanitation issues.
Duterte gave Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu only six months to solve environmental woes at the country’s top beach destination.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph