DILG to file charges vs. Boracay local officials

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26) — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is preparing charges of serious neglect of duty against Boracay officials.

Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco Densing III said Aklan Govenor Florencio Miraflores, Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling, and even barangay captains could all face charges.

"We're looking at local chief executives... Most probably the local municipal council themselves — baka wiped out sila [they might be wiped out]," Densing told CNN Philippines' The Source Monday.

"Pati gobernador, kaso hindi pa ata tapos ang evidence-gathering sa gobernador [Even the governor, although evidence-gathering against him probably isn't finished yet]," he added.

The complaint will be filed at the Office of the Ombudsman before April 14.

CNN Philippines reached out to the local officials, but they have yet to respond.

The government is eyeing a six-month closure of the island beginning on April 26. Densing pegged losses in revenue between ₱18 to ₱20 billion. 

The proposal has sparked concerns over the the loss of livelihoods and income of locals.

He, hovewer, said the Departments of Labor and Employment, Social Welfare and Development, Trade and Industry have all been tapped to give assistance.

The scramble to clean up the beach destination came after President Rodrigo Duterte called it "a cesspool," and threatened to shut it down permanently if pollution was not fixed.

Governor Miraflores on Thursday committed to fixing the drainage system problem by the end of May.

Related: Aklan Gov. commits to clean up Boracay drainage system by ‪May 31‬

'Boracay Development Authority' floated

Densing further suggested that the government set up a Boracay Island Development Authority as a longterm solution.

"For a tourist destination of world-class level, we should not let the [LGU] manage [it] on [its] own," said Densing. "Let the national government take over... tapos isa na lang sigurong boto si local government [then the local government will have only one vote]."

He also said there was a discrepancy between the Municipality of Malay's tourist arrivals at two million and its declared environmental fees at P91 million.

"Two million times 75 pesos (per head), that's P150 million. Medyo malayo ang gap [The gap is wide]," said Densing.

Some local officials were not competent, Densing added. He said they let illegal establishments slip, and some businesses with a mayor's permit did not have environmental clearance.

Watch the full interview with Densing here.