Iloilo City – With the looming threat of Boracay’s temporary closure seemingly a foregone conclusion, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores is appealing for authorities to defer it if only until summer ends.
“If possible, they should wait for summer to end. There are too many (events) booked already,” Miraflores said at the Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting in Iloilo City, Friday.
Not that he is willing to go far as to push the national government to agree with him.
According to Miraflores, he simply wants them to consider the option.
“We would have wanted it done during the lean season, which is the rainy season. That’s when lesser tourists go to Boracay. But of course, that’s their decision,” he said.
Only a day ago, the Department of Tourism (DoT), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), recommended a six-month closure of the beach destination starting April 26, 2018 to address the ongoing sewage problem there.
President Duterte already expressed approval of the measure but is yet to sign an order.
Of the estimated 2 million tourists in Boracay last year, an estimated 67,000 people attended various “LaBoracay” events, which happen all summer long.
Whether or not a closure will take effect as set, Miraflores assured the public the cleaning and rehabilitation of Boracay will continue.
“We have actually started cleanup of our drainage systems,” Miraflores disclosed relating Boracay Foundation Inc.
(BFI), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) have committed to the same.
“We have established timelines and we will proceed with our own rehabilitation efforts. Hopefully, this can help the national government and shorten the closure period,” added Miraflores.
All that said, some stakeholders can’t help but wonder aloud as to how the government plans to implement the closure.
“Until now, we are in the dark. As if the stakeholders have nothing to contribute on planning our very own existence in the months to come once the island is closed,” BFI President Nenette Aguirre-Graf lamented.
She added, “The people (here) are worried about jobs, food, education, and security of their children. What will the (national) government do with them?”
DILG Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III, is not moved, however, urging all stakeholders to simply cooperate with them.
“I asked them not to resist anymore. By the end of the day, the rehabiliation of the island is something everybody will benefit from,” Densing said.