Putting Boracay under state of calamity will hasten rehab: Palace

MANILA Malacanang said Wednesday President Rodrigo R. Duterte's plan to put Boracay under a state of calamity aims to accelerate the rehabilitation of the world-famous tourist destination.

This is to hasten the rehabilitation of Boracay, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing at the Palawan provincial capitol.

Last Tuesday, Duterte announced he would declare a state of calamity in Boracay, which he has described a cesspool due to sewage and garbage problem that is destroying the island's ecosystem and endangering the health of visitors.

The President explained that a state of calamity declaration would allow the government to extend assistance to people displaced financially following his order to dismantle illegal structures there.

Duterte has ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to fix Boracay's sewage problems within six months while appealing for public cooperation to hasten the cleanup drive.

He also warned the courts not to interfere by issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) so as not to exacerbate the situation.

Meanwhile, Roque said Duterte's order to local government officials to strictly implement all environment laws in Boracay is also equally applicable to other popular tourist destinations in the country.

Do not wait for the President to mention your names because the mandate of President for Boracay is equally applicable to all islands destinations, including El Nido: Implement all the existing laws, Roque said.

You have to remove all structures that have violated setback because local government might face charges if they will not act immediately, he warned.

Roque said Duterte gave the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) six months to enforce all laws, including holding local government unit officials liable for misfeasance and malfeasance.

Source: Philippine News Agency