Chamber of Commerce: We hope that things will really happen
By Paulo Loreto Lim
Despite the Malay Municipal Tourism Office reporting an increase in tourist arrivals at resort destination Boracay, claiming over two million visited last year, President Rodrigo Duterte recently referred to the island as a “cesspool” and ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to get a handle of the ongoing pollution problem in six months or risk being shut down.
“I will close Boracay; Boracay is a cesspool,” the president said. “You go into the water, it’s smelly; smells of what? S***!”
In January, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and DENR vowed to “save” Boracay, claiming recent environmental issues have given the area a “bad image.”
Last year, after the DENR Environmental Management Bureau and the Community Environment Office-Boracay issued notices to 12 establishments after it was discovered pipes were being illegally connected to storm drains, which were supposed to be utilized to collect rainwater, DENR-6 Director Jim Sampulna recommended DOT-6 and the Malay municipal government to rescind permits for Boracay hotels, resorts, and restaurants that violate environmental policies.
In response to Duterte’s ultimatum, the Boracay chapter of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed hope it will jumpstart efforts to clean up the island.
“All of us here in Boracay wanted a healthier and good island,” said local Chamber of Commerce President Elena Brugger. “We hope that things will really happen and will be put into action.”/PLL, WDJ