Duterte not keen on turning ‘entire’ Boracay into commercial area

MANILA Insisting that Boracay is a forestal and agriculture land, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday said that he only wanted a portion of Boracay used for commercial purposes such as tourism.

You know, 'yung Boracay is forestal agriculture. Do not push me to the wall. Kasi hindi pa commercial 'yan (Because that's not for commercial purposes), Duterte said in a speech in Mulanay, Quezon.

Duterte said that because he is not keen on turning Boracay into a commercial area, he would only be willing to dedicate a portion of the island for tourism.

I am not in favor of converting it into a commercial. So we can have a portion there may be 'yung mga (the) hotels na... If that is really the will of Congress na hindi naman matuluyan mamatay talaga ang (so that tourism will not die in) BoracAy, Duterte said.

Duterte said that if tourism stakeholders would not agree with his conditions, he would proceed to implement land reform in the entire island.

Kung hindi tayo magkaintindihan dito, i-land reform ko lahat 'yan. Ibigay ko sa tao 'yan. Tutal ang yayaman diyan 'yung may-ari ng mgahotel (If we do not agree with each other I will place the area under land reform. I'll give it to the people. Anyway, hotel owners are the only ones getting rich), Duterte said.

To date, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has identified some 15.5 hectares tracts of agricultural land in Boracay ready to be subjected to the government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

DAR Acting Secretary John Castriciones earlier said his agency is just waiting for Duterte to give the go-signal to start implementing agrarian reform in the top tourist destination.

Duterte, meanwhile, denied that he has a hidden agenda for ordering the temporary closure of Boracay last April 26 to give way to its rehabilitation.

Wala akong agenda. Matanda na ako. Hindi na ako makatakbo. Last term ko na 'to (I don't have an agenda. I'm old. I can't run for the next elections. This is my last term), Duterte said.

The President also appealed to critics of the closure to allow the government to do its job to fully clean up Boracay and vowed to allow Congress to decide to declare it as a forestal, agriculture or even commercial area.

Ganito lang. Linisin ko 'yan, pagkatapos ibalik ko. Ibalik ko sa gobyerno, hindi sa amin. Then I'll let Congress decide kung anong gusto ninyo (This is what we are going. We'll clean it up, then we'll return it. It's not ours. Then I'll let Congress decide what it wants to do with it), Duterte said.

Duterte's order to close Boracay for six months was criticized following reports that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation approved the license of Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group, Ltd. and Philippines' Leisure and Resorts World, Corporation for a USD500-million casino on the island.

MalacaAang has denied any link between the temporary closure of Boracay for 'rehabilitation' and the building of a huge casino-resort on the island. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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