Dismissal order served vs mayor in charge of Boracay island

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — A dismissal order has been served Wednesday against the mayor in charge of Boracay, who was found guilty of grave misconduct and other offenses that resulted in the island’s environmental problems.

In a statement, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the order was in line with the Office of the Ombudsman's April 22 decision that found Malay, Aklan Mayor Ceciron Cawaling guilty of gross neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of a public official, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

Also ordered dismissed was the town's licensing officer, Jen Salsona.

The dismissal means Cawaling and Salsona can no longer hold any government positions. They will also no longer receive their retirement benefits.

Cawaling on October 25 last year, a day before Boracay's reopening after a six-month rehabilitation, was suspended by the Ombudsman. This is in connection with the criminal and administrative charges that the DILG filed against him, Salsona, and 15 other local officials--including Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores-- two months after the island's closure.

READ: Malay town mayor suspended a day before Boracay reopens

The complaints stemmed from the officials' alleged neglect of Boracay, including anomalous collection of fees and the wanton issuance of permits. The charges against the 15 other officials had been dismissed.

READ: Rebuilding Boracay: Timeline, what to expect

The DILG said it hopes Cawaling and Salsona's dismissal will serve as a warning to all local government units (LGU) and reminder for them that violation of environmental laws has serious consequences.

“We hope that other LGUs will now be more proactive in protecting the environment and will not wait for the DILG to file cases against them. We urge other LGUs especially in the Manila Bay Watershed area to take their responsibilities seriously and work closely with the DILG in the rehabilitation and clean-up efforts,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya was quoted as saying.