PUTTING the island of Boracay under a state of calamity will hasten the world-famous tourist destination’s rehabilitation, according to Malacañang.
Malacañang issued the statement after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his plan to declare Boracay under a state of calamity amid environment issues hounding the island.
“This is to hasten the rehabilitation of Boracay,” Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Wednesday, March 7.
Malacañang also noted that Duterte’s order to clean up Boracay applies to other tourist destinations in the country.
“The president’s words are clear, although his statements are for Boracay, it’s applicable to all other tourist destinations in the Philippines,” Roque said.
“Start enforcing the laws, including the setback [requirement]. Demolish all the structures that violate the setback because the local government may be slapped with charges if they do not implement it as soon as possible,” he added.
A day earlier, Duterte threatened to put Boracay—which he previously described as “cesspool” due to the island’s dysfunctional sewerage system—under a state of calamity if his six-month ultimatum to clean it up is not met.
The president said he made the decision following a recommendation from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Section 3 of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 defines state of calamity as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”
Duterte also threatened to arrest local government officials and resort owners if they refuse to cooperate or protested the ongoing investigation and efforts to rehabilitate Boracay.
“If they refuse to cooperate and begin to protest—you were the ones responsible for the damage all these years, as well as the local officials who are all nonchalant of the problem there—I will arrest you all,” Duterte said.
He further warned, “And if you put up a fight I will charge you for sedition, preventing government to do what is good for the Filipino people.”