More structures to be dismantled during Boracay rehab, says DILG

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) - The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Saturday the government will dismantle more structures on Boracay if the proposed 60-day "tourist holiday" pushes through.

Speaking at a forum, DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco Densing III said it would be better to temporarily stop tourists from entering Boracay as the government will have to demolish structures first.

"'Wag muna tayo magpapasok ng turista whether local or international o foreign para maayos talaga kasi maraming babakbakin (Let's not let foreign or local tourists enter first because we have to demolish a lot of structures)," he said. "Maraming babakbakin (We'll be demolishing a lot of things). I tell you there will be a lot of structures which will be dismantled and destroyed."

Densing issued the statement amid the government's proposal to close the island and rehabilitate it for a 60-day period.

The proposal was opposed by Boracay stakeholders and business owners, and they asked the government to shut down only the erring establishments.

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

The stakeholders said the temporary closure would affect those depending on the island for livelihood.

Boracay earned P56 billion in revenues in 2017 alone. According to the DILG, more than 17,000 workers are stationed on the island.

However, Densing also appealed to businessmen to cooperate with the government as it aims to fix the world-famous tourist destination. 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in cooperation with other agencies, is looking to solve sewage disposal issues, in addition to zoning violations by some establishments.

"To the businessmen in Boracay, nakikiusap na kami sa inyo. Milyon at bilyon na ang kinita niyo [we're asking for your understanding. You've earned millions, billions]....This may sound corny but we appeal to your love of country," he said.

Densing also slammed businessmen who only seek profit.

"Kaya nagkaganyan sa Boracay because you're very greedy and the businessmen are bullying government officials," said Densing.

[Translation:Boracay has turned into this because you're greedy and you are bullying government officials.]

He called on them to stop harassing government officials.

"Ano ba naman ang 60 days....Di naman mauubos pero niyo eh. Nandiyan na, kumita na kayo," he added.

[Translation: What's 60 days. Your money won't go away. It's there, you already earned.]

The DILG reported on Friday more than 800 establishments on Boracay island are facing various violations.

Meanwhile, the DENR said Friday it will reclaim four wetlands occupied by business establishments and illegal settlers on the island.

The island is one of the country's top tourist destinations. More than two million tourists visited it in 2017, according to the Malay Municipal Tourism office.

Its environmental issues were thrust into the limelight after President Rodrigo Duterte called it a "cesspool" and ordered the Environment Department to fix it within six months.