DILG to file charges vs. Boracay local officials in May

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 26) – The Department of Interior and Local Government is ready to file in May administrative charges against at least ten local officials over the Boracay island mess.

"We intend to file [the complaint]by the first week of May," Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing told CNN Philippines' The Source Thursday.

The official said the complaint has been drafted, and they are waiting for other agencies to authenticate evidence so far gathered by the Interior Department.

Among those who may face charges include two high-ranking officials and a number of barangay chairmen in line with their responsibility to manage the world-famous tourist destination.

READ: DILG to file charges vs. Boracay local officials

As to the possible filing of criminal charges against them, the department is requesting the Commission on Audit to conduct a special audit on environmental fees collected from those visiting the island.

"How much was taken and how it was utilized are the two main issues for [this phase]," Densing said. "This time [it's]for the potential filing of criminal charges in violation of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act."

In a press conference later that day, Densing said that they found what could be a huge discrepancy between the environmental fees collected by the Municipality of Malay, Aklan and the amount that should have been collected if all two million Boracay tourists recorded in 2017 were able to pay the ₱75 environmental fee.

"We've gotten information from the Municipality of Malay… based on the official figures of the Department of Tourism, two million ang dumating na turista nung 2017," Densing said. "Kung official po yan at nagbayad sila ng ₱75, dapat ₱150 million ang nai-deklara."

[Translation: "We've gotten information from the Municipality of Malay… based on the official figures of the Department of Tourism, two million tourists arrived in 2017. If they were all official tourists and they each paid ₱75, then the municipality should have declared ₱150-million." ]

But according to the documents obtained by the DILG, the municipality only declared a collection of ₱91 million after taking the 15 percent cut allotted to Malay for its own environmental projects.

"It should be around ₱104 to ₱105 million," Densing said.

"We would like to get confirmation that the declaration was used for environmental projects and pag nakita natin sa special audit na hindi pala we're looking at violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act," the interior department official added.

[Translation: We would like to get a confirmation that the declaration was used for environmental projects and if we see in the special audit that it wasn't then we're looking at violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.]

President Rodrigo Duterte in February ordered a six-month closure of Boracay beginning Thursday, April 26, to clean up the island. Officials estimate the closure's economic impact at nearly ₱2 billion, and would result in the displacement of about 30,000 workers.

READ: Government temporarily closes Boracay