Earlier this year Mr Duterte said Boracay was turning into a “cesspool” tainted by dumped sewage and threatened to shut it down. Environment undersecretary Jonas Leones said last month a closure would involve having airlines and ferries suspend Boracay services, making the beaches off-limits and stationing police there “if necessary”.
Trash on the island
The island is home to around 500 tourism-related businesses, which drew in annual revenue of $1.07bn (£760m) last year. The government said affected companies will receive financial aid. But in February Duterte blasted the island’s hotels, restaurants and other businesses, accusing them of dumping sewage directly into the sea. The government said a total of 300 businesses faced “evaluation” for sanitary or other offences on the island. The department of trade and industry had earlier proposed closing the island down in phases, saying a total shutdown would be detrimental to businesses and livelihoods. Mr. Duterte has said that Boracay must be cleaned up, but officials have given no indication that there is a plan to do so. A business association on the island asked the government to shut down only those violating laws. Boracay employs 17,000 people, with another 11,000 construction workers working on new projects.