Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel and presidential spokesman, yesterday said the Cabinet had agreed on the rehabilitation of Panglao Island and El Nido.
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Duterte OKs rehab for Bohol, El Nido
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the massive rehabilitation of tourist spots in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, following the six-month closure of Boracay in Aklan.

Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel and presidential spokesman, yesterday said the Cabinet had agreed on the rehabilitation of Panglao Island and El Nido.

“The Cabinet agreed that there is no need to issue an executive order,” Panelo said.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told reporters that the DOT, along with the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior and Local Government under Secretary Eduardo Año, would ensure the rehabilitation of the two renowned beaches in the country.

Puyat said the President was happy that the rehabilitation efforts are underway and that environment laws are enforced in other areas.

“I was the one who brought it up in the Cabinet, and he said he was very happy,” she said.

According to the tourism chief, Duterte said all major tourist destinations should follow environmental laws.

“We (Cimatu, Año and myself) first spoke to El Nido mayor last Nov. 14 at the DENR and we all went to El Nido last Nov. 28,” she said.

Boracay reopened recently after a six-month closure. The rehabilitation efforts in Bohol and Palawan would be pursued, Puyat said, but no closures are needed this time.

In a chance interview at Malacañang, Año said they are not recommending a total closure of El Nido beaches but there would likely be a crackdown on resorts not complying with environmental laws, she said.

Island inspection

An inter-agency task force recently conducted an inspection of both the islands of El Nido and Panglao in line with efforts to begin the rehabilitation of the two tourist destinations.

Last month, the task force said El Nido would not be entirely closed like Boracay as local officials have agreed to cooperate with the national government.

“We’d like to give credit to the mayor and El Nido officials because they took the initiative to make this initial rehab and cleaning operations,” Año said.

“This did not happen in Boracay. In fact, when we were trying to clean Boracay, there were so many objections from the local government unit,” Año said. – With Catherine Talavera , Christina Mendez

BOHOL DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM EL NIDO
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