“I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool.“, resounding words uttered by President Rodrigo Duterte a few weeks ago in a business forum.
The highly acclaimed pristine waters of this paradise now plagued with a sewage problem. Is Boracay going to be another Philippine landmark that will go to waste?
Drainage Waste Direct to the Sea. Disgusting!
Around 850 establishments have been served show-cause orders for such violations. Establishments violated the Clean Water Act, Ecological Waste Management Act, and Land Use Regulations.
Only 18% of the 500 accredited hotels are connected to the sewage line. So where does the waste go? Multiple businesses drained their waste directly to the sea.
If this continues, I’m afraid the President’s cesspool description might just be an understatement.
Closure of Boracay: July to October
“I told Cimatu, Cimatu is a general, he was assigned here. ‘I’ll give you six months. Clean the g***** thing”, as said by the President Duterte at the Manila Business Forum.
With President Duterte’s directive, the tourism department is pushing the closure of Boracay on July to October to expedite the island cleanup. Plans are also present to announce a state of calamity to further hasten the process.
A mandatory salvage zone of 25 meters plus 5 meters is drawn for the buildings and the shore (high tide mark). Any establishment that will violate this boundary will be demolished.
Those who illegally tapped in the drainage system are all also forced to dismantle their businesses.
Balancing Act: Loss of Jobs vs. Preservation of Boracay’s Beauty
Purposefully, it is scheduled during the low season. Hopefully, this operation wouldn’t affect a lot of parties. Some people might have to cancel their trips. And check out some other Philippine wonder.
But even with this, the working public will certainly take a hit. It is expected to endanger 17,000 jobs in the process.
So should we focus on the long-term and preserve the island first? Or should we take into account the families that will be financially hit during this period? Surely, a difficult balancing act for the government to pull off.
So if you’re here for the next months, better visit Boracay this summer while you still can. Or better yet, should we wait after the cleanup is done? It’s your decision.