By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA – A fisherfolk group slammed what it calls as “double standards” of the Duterte administration in the rehabilitation of Boracay.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered the temporary closure of Boracay on the ground that local businesses have violated certain environmental laws. President Rodrigo Duterte himself expressed support for the shutting down of Boracay for ‘rehabilitation,’ even tagging the top tourist destination as “cesspool.”
The DENR, along with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Tourism recommended Boracay’s closure for six months starting on April 26.
According to the Boracay Foundation, Inc., tourism in the island generates about P56-million in receipts. Tens of thousands of workers will also be affected by the closure of businesses.
Fernando Hicap, chairperson of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) said, “We do not object the rehabilitation of Boracay, it must have been done before. But we will not let a foreign company to enter and plunder our resources and violate our patrimony in the name of profit.”
While small businesses have been ordered closed, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) granted Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) and its listed local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) a gaming license to operate a $500-million integrated casino resort in Boracay. According to a report, the construction of the 23-hectare resort would begin soon.
Hicap said, “The transformation of the country into China province is likely to happen if the plan of this foreign-developer to construct a world-class casino-resort in Boracay will proceed.” “It is alarming that while small Filipino-owned structures are being removed, a bigger and foreign-owned developer would take over. This would result in massive pollution in the sea as foreign-owned corporations would not care to protect of our marine resources because they only want profit.”