PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte plans to put Boracay under a state of calamity in order to address environmental problems in the world-famous tourist destination.
“I told [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary Eduardo Año] to finish [the clean-up that I had recommended]in six months. End it. Six months, end the problem in Boracay. Now, I know it [will be hard]and that is why I would be declaring a state of calamity [there],” Duterte said during oath-taking of members of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday night.
Duterte added that he would justify the declaration by highlighting that the pollution problem on the island is already affecting the public interest, public safety and public health.
“In the meantime, if I were from Boracay or if you guys are from there, the best thing for you to do is to cooperate with the government and hasten the clean-up. For as long as there is shit coming out of those pipes [straight into]the sea, I will never give you the time of the day to go back,” the President said.
Duterte warned the courts not to interfere with the declaration by issuing a temporary restraining order because it would just “exacerbate the situation” and would result in “loss of trust.”
Last week, Año called for the declaration of a six-month state of calamity and a two-month business shutdown on the island in order to hasten the rehabilitation of Boracay.
“It [declaration of the state of calamity]will afford the national government and LGUs [local government units]sufficient elbow room to utilize their respective calamity funds for the relief, recovery and reconstruction of areas affected by human-induced calamities and pollution happening in Boracay,” he said in a statement.
The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 defines state of calamity as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”
Last month, Duterte called the island a “cesspool” because of the environmental problems afflicting its waters.