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Duterte threatens to sue Boracay execs

Duterte said the officials created a “disaster” on the island because they allowed the building of structures without proper sewerage. Because of the absence of a sewerage system, water flushed from hotel bathrooms go directly to the sea, he added.    Michael de Guzman

Duterte threatens to sue Boracay execs

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday threatened to file charges against local officials in the world-famous tourist destination Boracay, which he has described as a “cesspool.”

Duterte said the officials created a “disaster” on the island because they allowed the building of structures without proper sewerage. Because of the absence of a sewerage system, water flushed from hotel bathrooms go directly to the sea, he added.  

“I will charge you for serious neglect of duty for making Boracay a fishpond or a sewer pool. Kayo ‘yan diyan (You are responsible),” the President said. “When you look at Boracay, it looks good from the distance. You swim in Boracay and you stink with s***. The tourists, once they return, they will contract dysentery.”

During a Cabinet meeting last week, Duterte tasked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to fix the problems of Boracay within six months.

The DENR is tasked to check on establishments violating environmental laws and file cases against them, while the DILG will have to file cases against government officials who issued permits to violators.

Duterte also threatened to close the island of Boracay if the problems persist.  

The President said he is leaving it to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to deal with the issues hounding the island, which lures about two million tourists a year.

“It is Cimatu alone who will decide. If he thinks that he has to destroy there, he has to destroy you. He has my complete trust and confidence,” he added. 

Duterte, who previously threatened to close the island, said he does not care if the business establishments in Boracay are generating billions in revenues.  

“You know I don’t give a s*** kasi either they clean it up or I will close it permanently,” he said. 

“You know the local governments, the people there, I’m addressing myself now to the (officials of) Boracay, you allowed these things, the building of structures overlapping the coastline,” he added. 

The Department of Tourism is confident that the President’s orders to hunt down violators of environmental laws in Boracay within six months will bode well for the island’s tourism sector in the long run.

Tourism Assistant Secretary and spokesman Frederick Alegre told The STAR that it is vital for the DENR and DILG to act on the President’s orders within the six-month period.

“Where the President is coming from, he is very passionate about it. Rightfully so, we all have to be passionate about it,” Alegre said. – Catherine Talavera

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