MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte pointed an accusing finger at local government officials in Boracay Island, saying they are to blame for pollution in the popular tourist destination.
He warned he would file complaints against them for "serious neglect of duty," days after he threatened to "close" Boracay if its environmental woes are not addressed.
"I will charge you [with] serious neglect of duty [for] making Boracay a sewer pool, sa inyo 'yan diyan (that's your problem)," he said on Monday, February 12, during a speech at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.
Duterte accused local government officials of being too "zealous" in approving the construction of various commercial establishments in Boracay, to take advantage of its tourism boom.
He said they approved such construction without properly monitoring the establishments' compliance with sewerage regulations, to the detriment of Boracay's ecosystems.
"You allowed buildings to be constructed without the proper sewerage….You created a disaster there," said the President.
He gave an ultimatum to the local officials and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
"Either they clean it up or I will close it permanently," Duterte said.
The President has given Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu 6 months to address the environmental problems in Boracay and has approved "in principle" an executive order creating a task force for this. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.