Interior Asec: Boracay water supply might be cut off

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 9) — The water supply on Boracay Island might be cut off during the six-month shutdown.

Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III on Monday said the Boracay Island Water Corporation, the primary potable water service in the area, had a violation with the Department of Environment and National Resources' Pollution Adjudication Board. He did not specify the nature of the violation.

"There's a chance that they will be temporarily closed so they can expand their sewage treatment plans," Densing announced on CNN Philippines' The Source.

He also said the government is working to make sure residents will still get water.

"If ever ma-cut ang water, doon lang iyon sa malalaki. Bibigyan pa rin ng tubig hopefully ang mga residents," said Densing.

[Translation: If ever the water is cut, it will only be in those big (establishments). Hopefully, residents will still get water.]

When asked how long the possible cut-off could last, Densing answered "as fast as Boracay Water can rehabilitate." He pegged the duration at three to four months.

The news comes as the island destination is set to face a six-month shutdown beginning on April 26. Officials said the period could be shorter depending on the progress of rehabilitation work.

READ: Rebuilding Boracay: Timeline, what to expect

While government officials argue the closure is necessary for environmental restoration, local businessmen and residents are concerned about how it will affect their source of income.

Densing said the water cut-off might even help in the island clean-up.

"In fact, that will improve the discharge of water sa [in the] drainage," said Densing. "Dahil wala na ang mga madudumi... siguradong malilinis iyan in three months [Because the polluted water is gone... it will surely be clean in three months]."

Tourism Undersecretary Ricky Alegre previously said only 47 percent of about 1,900 business establishments are connected to the sewage treatment plan. An area of the island has open pipes that pour out waste to the open sea.

The scramble to clean up the world-famous tourist destination came after President Rodrigo Duterte called it "a cesspool," and threatened to shut it down permanently if its pollution problem went unsolved.

Watch the complete interview with Densing here.