The Philippines will ban tourists from the island of Boracay, a popular destination whose coast has, however, become a "septic tank" according to President Rodrigo Duterte, because of the lack of bars and hotels. 19659002] The head of state decided that this ban would apply from April 26 for a maximum of six months, announced his spokesman Harry Roque Wednesday evening on Twitter.
"Boracay is known in our Nation as a paradise and this temporary closure aims to allow future generations to know it too, "Roque told reporters on Thursday.
This decision could jeopardize the jobs of thousands of people working on one tourist jewels of the archipelago: the island of 10 km2 welcomes every year about two million tourists and generates a billion dollars for the Philippine economy.
But Mr. Duterte had in February a the hotels and bars of the central island of the archipelago, located 300 kilometers south of Manila, to dump their sewage directly into the sea.
The crystal-clear waters of this tiny, ultra-crowded island and its beaches White sand has turned into a "septic tank" that smells "shit," said the president, known for his propensity not to mince his words.
The Ministry of the Environment had said that 195 shops and 4,000 Islanders were not connected to sewer systems.
– 'Unfair' –
As a result of the decision to "close" the island to tourists, airlines announced Thursday that they would reduce their number of flights. And some professionals of Boracay did not hide their worries.
"We will not have recipes but it will still have to pay the bills, I do not know how I will survive," said AFP Manuel Raagas, manager of a cheap hotel.
Last month, Under Secretary of the Environment Jonas Leones told AFP that the implementation of a "closure" could imply that the ferry stops their rotations to the island, or that the beaches are strictly forbidden, with the deployment of police forces if necessary.
"We will send instructions on how to prevent tourists from entering (on the island, starting with the port, "Deputy Interior Minister Epimaco Densing told reporters on Thursday.
" Whether foreign or Filipino, they will not be allowed to visit the island. "
Some experts, however, are surprised at the" closure "of the island, especially as the government has given the go-ahead to the giant Macanese Galaxy Entertainment for the construction next year of a new casino and hotel complex to 500 million dollars.
"This casino goes to the against all efforts to clean up Boracay and ensure that the island does not exceed its capacity, "said AFP former Deputy Secretary of Environment Antonio La Vina. [19659002Hedeploredan"unlimited"developmentoftheareabycallingintoquestion"localgovernmentagenciesandnationalagenciesthathavenotdonetheirjobofimplementingregulationsonlandtenureandenvironmentalimpactstudies"
Authorities said they would use the "closure" of the island to build new sanitation networks, destroy buildings on marshes, and sue local officials and contractors who broke the norms.
The Boracay Foundation, an island business association, has called for the government to attack traders who violate environmental laws.
"It is unfair for institutions in good standing to be affected by the closure, "the director general of the Pia Miraflores Foundation told AFP, saying that the activity had dropped even before the announcement of the ban.
" Tourist guides complain of the decline the number of customers, "she said, citing panicked customers who have already booked and harassed travel agencies to find out whether or not they should come.
The island home Already more than 500 hotels employ 17,000 people, not counting the 11,000 employees in the construction industry working on new projects.