‘Laboracay' 2018 canceled? Gov’t agencies recommend calling off Labor Day parties in Boracay

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 22) — Partygoers may have to skip their Boracay escapades on Labor Day.

This follows a recommendation by Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores to the local government to cancel the annual ‘Laboracay’ parties this year.

“I will be recommending to the local government of Malay that we should defer this for the meantime, because we are now in the process of cleaning up our drainage, our sewage system,” Miraflores told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom on Thursday.

“With the influx of more tourists, while we are rehabilitating this, it would be very difficult for us to finish it on time,” he added.

Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro also posted on her Facebook page that a government inter-agency council, composed of the Environment, Tourism and Interior departments, has also recommended the move.

 

‘Laboracay,’ which happens ‪on May 1‬, attracts local and foreign tourists to the island for various party events.

Interior Assistant Secretary Epimacio Densing also told CNN Philippines the six-day long event may cause more damage to the island.

"Because at Laboracay we're talking about 30-40,000 people at any given time on the island for six straight days,” he told CNN Philippines’ News Night. “That will actually add up to the pollutant and the destruction or degradation of the water system in the area for that few days,” he said.

The move comes as the government works to beat President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-month deadline to clean the world-famous tourist destination.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said any closure will be during off-peak season following an appeal by Boracay businessmen to set the possible closure of the island to June and September when tourists are scarce.

READ: Roque: Boracay open this Holy Week; no closure date yet

In February, Duterte had told Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to clean up the island within six months.

Following the President’s directive, the government inter-agency council has floated the proposal of closing down the island for rehabilitation — a move that Boracay stakeholders have protested.

Densing said the inter-agency council formed to rehabilitate Boracay will recommend the closure of the island ‪on April 26.‬ The closure may last for as long as six months, he said.

However, he said the “closure” will only prohibit foreign and local tourists in the island — not shut down businesses with permits. He said businesses can continue to stay open for renovation or rehabilitation during the timeframe.