Densing: Boracay businesses may lose P20-B due to closure

Casey Dawson
April 6, 2018

The entire island of Boracay will be closed to visitors from April. 26, so that it can receive a massive clean-up of dumped sewage and upgrades to its drainage systems, a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is looking at releasing a P2-billion calamity fund to aid locals who will lose jobs due to the island's closure.

Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and AirAsia Philippines said they would scale down services to the two airports from April 26 to October 25, and add more to other popular beach and dive destinations, including Cebu, Palawan and Bohol.

THE six-month closure and cleanup of the world-famous Boracay Island will affect 35,000 workers and result in P18 billion to P20 billion in losses, officials said on Thursday. The company's shares dropped by as much as 7.5% yesterday.

The Philippine tourism minister, Wanda Teo, said Thursday that businesses and visitors to the crowded 10 sq km island would have to make a sacrifice.

'It's unfair for compliant establishments to be affected by the closure, ' Executive Director Pia Miraflores told AFP. "Everyone must sacrifice here". The island generates 20% of the country's tourism industry revenue, according to Aljazeera. Regional police in Davao city said they did not feel the quake, which the USGS recorded at a depth of 64.4 kilometres below the ground. "In the long-term, a safe and revitalized Boracay will benefit all stakeholders in the travel and tourism sectors, and the Filipino people as a whole". "They really need to find ways to be employed, or at least keep their head above water for the next six months".

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Located off the northern tip of the central island of Panay, Boracay's white sand, lively night scene and abundant water sports attracted almost 2 million visitors previous year, with the largest contingents coming from China and South Korea.

Duterte was furious about sewage problems stemming from inadequate treatment systems and unrestrained development of businesses, which in many cases were operating without permits. The government this week estimated the closure could shave 0.1% off 2018 GDP.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which separately measured it at 6.0, said the quake was felt in the Mindanao cities of Davao, Mati and Bislig, but that it did not expect any damage.

PAL has adjusted its operations in support of the government's decision to temporarily close or limit access to Boracay for urgent major environmental rehabilitation of the island.

Airlines have cut back flights to the island, while business groups called for the decision to be reconsidered even as they stressed to look at the long-term measures to ensure Boracay's sustainability.

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