Duterte to visit Boracay on March 12

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - March 4, 2020 - 7:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Wednesday announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Boracay on March 12.

Duterte ordered the temporary closure of the island in April 2018 to pave way for its rehabilitation. He said then that the top tourist destination of the country had "become a cesspool." 

"It's the first time that he's going to go to Boracay since it opened. So probably, he will look at all the changes in Boracay," Puyat said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

She added that among these changes are a new medical facility and tourist center.

According to Puyat, there's still no hospital in Boracay. However, she said the Boracay Interagency Taskforce, mandated to rehabilitate the island, fixed the medical facility there.

"Kasi usually pang-giving birth lang. Now, equipped na siya for trauma—kung may mga heart attack, kung may malunod," adding that there are also satellite phones available in case a typhoon takes telecommunications down.

(It's usually for giving birth only. Now, it’s equipped for trauma — if someone suffers heart attack or gets drowned)

The Tourism chief said the Department of Public Works and Highways said that its road networks will be completed by April or May this year. 

Aside from checking on what has been done since the island reopened, Puyat said the upcoming visit of the president is "his way of promoting domestic tourism."

The Department of Tourism has been promoting domestic tourism following setbacks from Taal Volcano eruption and the coronavirus scare.

The agency earlier said Duterte will also visit other major islands in the country such as Bohol and Cebu to show tourists and locals that "it is safe to travel around the Philippines."

Puyat reiterated that the country is safe to visit citing that "there's no local transmission."

"Let's show the world that it’s still more fun in the Philippines," she concluded.

Data from the Bureau of Immigration showed that foreign arrivals in February 2020 dropped by 41.4% comparing to the same period last year. This year, there were only 418,126 international tourist arrivals recorded in February while there are 713,394 visitors in the same month last year.

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