Complete Boracay rehabilitation will take two years — task force

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The much-awaited reopening of Boracay island will happen in less than a month, but authorities said it will need a couple of months more for its complete rehabilitation.

In a congressional hearing Friday, the Boracay inter-agency task force said the restoration of the island will take two years in full.

"The soft opening is the first phase of the rehabilitation pa lang (still). The (complete) rehabilitation of Boracay will take two years," Interior Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año said during the public hearing in Aklan.

"But the six-month closure has produced something that would restore the island to its pristine state," he added.

Año said Boracay will be the "best tourist destination" in Asia in two years.

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu hopes that after the two-year timeline, people will abide by the environmental laws in the area.

"We have completed six months. We have one and a half years to go. Hopefully, we can have finishing touches... and at the same time, sustain the environmental laws na nakaligtaan dati. (that we weren't able to follow in the past)," he said.

Boracay will reopen on October 26 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the six-month closure last April.

Ahead of the opening, authorities said that only less than ten percent of establishments have complied with the requirements set by the Environment Department.

READ: Saving Boracay: Timeline, what to expect

During the hearing, the Environment Department also presented restrictions in the island's soft opening. These include temporary suspension of diving and other water sports activities, suspension of new establishment constructions, prohibition of casinos and online gambling, as well as fire dance activities on the beachfront.