Duterte issues proclamation declaring state of calamity in Boracay, its temporary closure as tourist destination
President Rodrigo Duterte issued on Thursday Proclamation No. 475, declaring a state of calamity in Boracay and temporary closure of the island as a tourist destination.
"The state of calamity in the island of Boracay shall remain in force and effect until lifted by the President, notwithstanding the lapse of the six-month closure period," the proclamation read.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has recommended the declaration of state of calamity in Boracay, which covers the villages of Balabag, Manoc-Manoc, and Yapak, and the temporary closure of the island as a tourist destination.
The recommendation was made "to ensure public safety and public health and to assist the government in its expeditious rehabilitation, as well as in addressing the evolving socio-economic needs of affected communities," the proclamation said.
The interagency task force composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Tourism, proposed for the six-month closure of Boracay starting April 26.
The six-month closure of the world-famous tourist spot began on Thursday, with Interior and Local Government Officer-In Charge Eduardo Ano pledging to clean up Boracay. "There has been no order here for a long time. It's like the Wild Wild West," said Ano in a televised news conference from Boracay.
The labor department said there are around 35,000 workers that will lose their jobs due to Boracay's six-month closure.
Duterte asked the different agencies concerned, as well as residents in the island, to cooperate in the implementation of the proclamation.
Specifically, he asked the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to "act with restraint and within the bounds of the law in the strict implementation of t the closure of the Island and ensuring peace and order in the area."
Duterte also told the municipality of Malay to ensure no tourist will be allowed entry to the island until such time he has lifted the closure.
With the declaration of state of calamity, there will be controls in the prices of basic goods and commodities in affected areas, employment of negotiated procurement and utilization of appropriate funds, the proclamation said.
Duterte has ordered Boracay closure to pave way for its rehabilitation after likening it to a "cesspool." Celerina Monte/DMS