By Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola
Senate President Koko Pimentel said yesterday that he supports the proposed 60-day shutdown to rehabilitate Boracay Island.
Pimentel backed the proposal of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo to temporarily close the world-famous island to save it from environmental degradation.
Año and Teo had proposed that Boracay be closed for six months but Pimentel said it should only be closed for 60 days during the off-season from June 1 to July 31 as proposed by his Senate colleagues.
“It is only logical to close Boracay for renovations, so to speak. We must carefully assess the damage to the local environment and take the necessary steps for cleanup. The process is more easily done and more effective if there are no tourists around,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said that the closure of tourist destinations to preserve them is “nothing new” as it is being practiced in other countries like Thailand, which ordered an “indefinite” shutdown of its Kon Tachai island in May 2016 due to severe deterioration blamed on high tourist numbers.