By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—For the Department of Tourism (DOT), world-famous Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan province will not totally closed.
“It’s not really a physical closure. It doesn’t mean that all entry points to Boracay will be blocked,” said Atty. Helen Catalbas, DOT regional director for Western Visayas.
This is despite the total closure recommendation jointly announced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and DOT last week.
DOT Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre also clarified that the inter-agency recommendation needs the approval of President Duterte, who is expected to declare a state-of-calamity.
“This has yet to be approved by the President,” Alegre said in a text message to Manila Bulletin.
If the closure recommendation is approved, Catalbas said that it will only affect those that have been identified as violators.
“There will be a 30-day notice to all those that will be affected,” added Alegre.
While there is confusion among the public as to what the closure recommendation meant, Catalbas noted that Boracay’s law-abiding establishments will continue to be open to tourists in the island dubbed as “Asia’s 24/7.”
Over the weekend, an eight-minute power switch-off was held in Boracay. Stakeholders flocked to the beach front and used the lights of their mobile phones to participate in the “Boracay United” movement.
The “Yes to cleanup. No to closure.” mantra is also the same sentiment of Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, who is appealing to President Duterte to reconsider.