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Boracay closure not only for rehab, but also for public safety

Tomorrow (April 26, 2018), what tourists had known as the paradise island will be closed to visitors, at least for six months to allow rehabilitation work to be carried out without hindrance. This is bite-the-bullet treatment imposed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte after an inter-agency task force validated the rampant violations of environmental laws and the building code in the over-congested island. Many businessmen and workers on the island protested that this measure is too harsh. “Punish only those who broke the law,” many resort owners urged.

Boracay

Government workers get ready to provide assistance to displaced workers in Boracay when it is shut down to tourists starting April 26. (Inquirer photo by Nestor Burgos)

But it’s not about finding out who did wrong and limit the fall-out to them and their employees. Boracay Island is now an ICU patient from the environmental point of view. Pictures emerging from the island last week showed the green algae growth on the beaches has gone up, an indication that the coliform level in the water has reached a dangerous point.

Hence, this closure is not only about a clean-up; it’s also protecting the tourists from possible diseases caused by coliform bacteria. It’s a public health issue that should not be ignored in favor of protecting businessmen and workers from the economic losses the closure will bring.

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Trillanes can’t find new issue with Duterte, questions order to shut down Boracay

PHILIPPINES-POLITICS-CRIME-RIGHTS-TRILLANES

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes must be struggling to stay relevant in Philippine political discourse. His unending tirades against President Rodrigo Duterte hardly stirred any reactions from a public gone weary on his loud-mouthed but otherwise empty rhetorics. No matter how explosive he might sound with his tirades, these are greeted with yawns from the people. That must really be frustrating for Trillanes. Nothing he has hurled against Mr. Duterte has landed a solid punch; not even a dent has been caused on the public image of the President.

This guy’s credibility level is sub-zero!

And so I was more amused than irritated when I came across a story that Trillanes has questioned the “real motive” in the President’s order to close down Boracay for six months and give it the breathing spell to recover from the environmental woes it is suffering. The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying:

“I will question the real motive kung bakit ipinasara ang Boracay. Hindi ako naniniwala na environmentalist ito si Mr. Duterte,” said Trillanes, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.

(I will question the real motive behind the closure of Boracay. I don’t believe that Mr. Duterte is an environmentalist.)

Well, Trillanes can question the motive of the President, and entertain himself. But this tough decision is a necessary step to stop the environmental degradation that has happened in Boracay over the years. The problem has been there for decades. To his credit, only President Duterte has shown the political will to tackle the bull by the horns. Now everybody is moving in concert to save Boracay. Years of official neglect are now being rectified.