MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte may sign the executive order (EO) placing Boracay under a state of calamity anytime now, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement two days before the island will be closed to tourists for six months to give way to its rehabilitation starting April 26.
The people have been told, they know that there will be a closure, there will be a declaration of state of natural calamity. It's just a matter of the President signing the document and it can be signed anytime now, Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque assured that the calamity fund intended for the informal workers, who will be most affected by the closure, is already in place.
The funds are there. You just need the proclamation (of the President) to use them. As soon as it's signed you can use the funds, Roque said.
Roque earlier said that the Duterte administration will allocate approximately PHP2 billion worth of calamity fund for workers who will be displaced by the six-month Boracay closure.
Well there was a figure mentioned by the Secretary of Finance (Carlos Dominguez III), and the amount mentioned was 2 billion, Roque said in an earlier Palace briefing.
Roque, however, clarified that the calamity fund will only be allocated for displaced workers and not resort owners.
There will be a declaration of a state of calamity, but the President was insistent that the funds that will be spent will go only to the workers who will be displaced. He will not let any resort owner benefit from any sort of calamity fund, he added.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III said that despite the six-month closure, Boracay may be reopened to tourists by August if the local government and the stakeholders there could meet certain standards concerning water discharge, solid waste management, cleaning of drainage, 100 percent easement compliance, wetlands recovery and road widening.
He, however, clarified that these would still be subject to approval by the three secretaries of the inter-agency for Boracay comprised of the DILG, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Tourism (DOT).
Tourism and development through the years have taken a toll on the world-famous island resort known for its fine white sand and turquoise waters.
Two million tourists visited Boracay last year, data from the DOT showed. (With reports from Elijah Mendoza, OJT/PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency