By Chino S. Leyco
The looming temporary closure of Boracay island will not significantly affect the Philippines’ overall economy, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.
In a briefing, NEDA Director Reynaldo R. Cancio said the impending closure of Boracay may only drag-down the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), by 0.1 percent.
“Basically, the overall picture we see is even if say the ban extends to up to six-months, at the macro level, it’s not going to be significant, the most is something like 0.1 percent of GDP,” Cancino told reporters.
The NEDA official, however, clarified the insignificant estimate on economic impact is based on current available “assumptions.”
For 2018, the Duterte administration is targeting an economic growth rate of around 7.0 percent to 8.0 percent.
While the forthcoming closure is immaterial to the country’s potential economic performance, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillion admitted that the shut down of Boracay will severely affect the local government of Malay, Aklan.
Edillion suggested that the local officials need to “coordinate closely” with the Department of Tourism to help displaced employees who are affected by the temporary closure of the country’s premier tourist destination.
“It’s really a matter of coordination that if the tourists who were intending to go to Boracay could be accommodated in the establishments outside of Boracay,” Edillon said. “We’re also hoping that the closure would happen during the lean season so that it would not have the adverse effect.”
The NEDA undersecretary, meanwhile, disclosed that they have already submitted their proposal to President Rodrigo R. Duterte regarding the forthcoming closure of Boracay.
“We have actually submitted our proposal, our analysis and recommendations to the Office of the President, and I think we cannot really yet discuss the very details,” Edillon said.
Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has proposed to the Office of the President to shut down Boracay island in phases to avoid disrupting businesses and livelihood in the island.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevara said the proposal of the DTI will be among the factors to be considered before President Duterte decides on the proposed six-month closure of the island.
An inter-agency task force recently recommended a six-month closure of Boracay starting April 26 to pave the way for the rehabilitation works in the island, which the President has previously described as a cesspool.
The recommendation was made by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Department of Tourism.
Guevarra, however, said the Palace has asked the three government agencies to further explain and justify the proposed closure of Boracay.
He said they only received a two-paragraph recommendation from DENR, DILG, and DOT on the Boracay closure but wanted these agencies to provide more details about the plan.
He said President Duterte wants to take into consideration the “economic impact” of the proposed Boracay closure since it would affect not only the environment but also the livelihood of the people.