Protect Boracay workers amid proposed closure – Angara

MANILASenator Sonny Angara has called on government to ensure that employment assistance will be provided to workers that would be affected should the planned closure of Boracay businesses pushes through.

The Department of Interior and Local Government has recently announced that it would propose a declaration of a six-month state of calamity and two-month commercial shutdown in Boracay to hasten the rehabilitation efforts in the popular tourist destination.

Labor groups in Western Visayas have expressed apprehension that almost 19,000 formal and informal workers could lose their jobs with the proposed business closure.

"While we fully support the immediate rehabilitation of Boracay, we can't turn a blind eye to the possible displacement of thousands of workers. Libu-libong pamilya ang maaapektuhan nito," Angara said.

The lawmaker has called on stakeholders to take advantage of the Green Jobs Law that incentivizes the creation of jobs that contribute substantially to the preservation and restoration of the environment and natural resources.

Under Republic Act 10771 that Angara sponsored, green jobs refer to jobs that help "protect ecosystems and biodiversity, and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution."

He also cited the Labor Department's Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD Program, which provides emergency employment and free skills training for workers who were laid off or terminated as a result of closure of an establishment and for self-employed individuals who have lost their livelihood.

"Tourism industry is a major economic driver and job generator for the country. Boracay, which was named world's best island, attracts two million tourists and brings in more than PHP50 billion revenues every year.

"Umaasa tayo na ang rehabilitasyon nito ay magiging daan upang mas lumobo ang turismo sa bansa na tiyak na lilikha ng dagdag trabaho lalo na para sa mga lokal ng Boracay," Angara said.

The senator has filed Senate Resolution 633 that called for an investigation on the severe pollution in Boracay in order to address the island's deteriorating state, protect its environment and ecology, and promote its sustainable development.

"The massive influx of tourists, free-wheeling development, and poor enforcement of laws on environmental protection are causing coastal pollution and adverse environmental damage," the resolution read.

Angara said Congress must review and intensify existing laws on environmental protection and rehabilitation so as to sustain the country's tourism growth while preserving the beauty of Philippine islands. (Senate PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency