DOLE to help Boracay workers amid looming shutdown

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Boracay Island shores. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it will assist workers affected by the impending closure of Boracay.

While DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello prefers the world-famous tourist destination to remain open, he said he will give way to the decision of other departments.

"Kami naman kasi, kung sana huwag na magco-close pero kung [We'd rather it not close, but if] that's the decision of the three agencies then we just have to follow and attend to the needs of those who will be displaced," Bello said.

Authorities said there are more than 17,000 workers are stationed on the island.

On Thursday, the inter-agency tasked to clean up Boracay said it would recommend a total closure of the island - a move that stakeholders and businesses protested.

The Labor Department, and other agencies spearheading the rehabilitation Departments of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, and Interior and Local Government are all part of the committee.

READ: Inter-agency group recommends Boracay's total closure

Bello, however, said a new investment opportunity promises to provide at least 60,000 jobs.

He also called on the Departments of Trade and Industry and Social Welfare and Development to help provide livelihood opportunities for displaced workers and employees.

Boracay to go dark on Saturday

With the looming shutdown, Boracay United, a group of business establishments and associations, will stage a protest.

The group is asking everyone who will be affected by the shutdown to turn their lights off at exactly 8:08 p.m. on Saturday.

Residents will proceed to the beachfront and beam flashlights and phones toward the sky to show how Boracay would look like during a closure.

Malay Town officials have demolished a number of illegal beachfront structures in the past few days, including a resort operating without permits.

Boracay earned ₱56 billion in revenues in 2017 alone.