Duterte to declare state of calamity in Boracay

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he will declare a state of calamity in Boracay due to environmental issues hounding the world-famous tourist destination.
Duterte made the statement in a speech before the oath-taking ceremony for members of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) following a recommendation from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

"Ang state of calamity may component ’yan na pambigay talaga for those who are displaced financially. Para na ring kung ano, may bagyong dumaan, magbigay ka ng pera," he said.

"In the meantime, if I were from Boracay or you guys there, the best thing for you to do is to cooperate with government and hasten the cleanup. For as long as there are s— coming out of those pipes draining to the sea, I will never give you the time of the day na bumalik diyan," Duterte added.
He also cautioned courts not to interfere by issuing a temporary restraining order because this might only "exacerbate the situation."

The President earlier said that he will shut down the resort island, whom he described as a "cesspool," if its sewage problem would remain unresolved in six months.

Boracay hosts at least two million visitors each year.

DILG officer-in-charge Eduardo Año had earlier said that placing Boracay under a state of calamity would help accelerate the rehabilitation plan of the national government for the island, as it "will afford the national government and [local government units] sufficient elbow room to utilize their respective calamity funds for the relief, recovery, and reconstruction of areas affected by human-induced calamities and pollution."

Año said the DILG also is looking into the criminal liability of local public officials that led to the "environmental crisis" in Boracay.

During his visit to the island, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu also said a state of calamity may be declared in Boracay due to its environmental issues. He added that the island may be closed for two to three months while the issues are being sorted out.

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