Duterte eyeing criminal raps vs. Boracay officials

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 26) — Boracay officials may be in for a hard time, as President Rodrigo Duterte is considering filing cases against them.

In a press briefing Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, "The President was emphatic in the Cabinet meeting to remind the LGUs that they will incur criminal liability for malfeasance and misfeasance for their failure to protect the natural environment in Boracay."

There have been proposals to close down Boracay and place it under state of calamity.

However, Roque stressed that the final decision on the matter will only be made after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu gives his recommendations on how Boracay's environmental issues can be solved.

After a meeting last February 5, Cimatu was given 6 months to give his recommendations.

On February 9, the President said, "I told Cimatu, Cimatu is a general, he was assigned here. 'I'll give you six months. Clean the g***** thing."

He also threatened to shut down the island because of pollution.

READ: Duterte orders DENR to clean up Boracay in 6 months

DOT: Let's all save Boracay

In a statement released Monday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) sought the public's help in restoring Boracay to its glory.

The DOT said it was imposing a six-month moratorium on accreditation. During that time, resorts and other establishments on the island can acquire and maintain their individual water treatment facility, as well as connect to the centralized sewerage system.

READ: DENR: Erring Boracay establishments have 2 months to 'shape up'

They added they were determined to press charges against those responsible for seawater contamination and violating other environmental and tourism laws.

In a press statement released also on Monday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the demolition of some illegal structures on Boracay has already started.

A viewing deck built on three natural rock formations was one of the structures taken down by officials Saturday.

Boracay is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations and has been hailed as one of the best islands in the world.

RELATED: Travel and Leisure names Palawan, Boracay as 2017's best islands

The Malay Municipal Tourism Office said the island saw over two million visitors from January to December 2017, a 16-percent increase from the number of tourist arrivals in 2016.

This story was updated on March 4 to reflect that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu was given 6 months to give his recommendations.

CNN Philippines Digital Producers Pia Garcia and Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.