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Duterte may demolish hotels in Boracay Island

By GENALYN KABILING

Boracay would not be declared as a commercial area, President Duterte said yesterday, as he warned about the possible dismantling of hotels and other commercial structures in the island.

The President instead intends to give back Boracay to farmers, citing a Supreme Court ruling that the popular tourist island was originally intended for forest and agricultural use.

“I am not inclined to declare anything there as a commercial area. If you will lose your billions there, I’m sorry because I said I am not signing any proclamation until the end of my term,” the President said upon arrival in Davao City yesterday from his visit to Hong Kong and Hainan, China.

“So kung magpagawa ka diyan ng hotel, disgrasya ka because it’s agriculture. Then we will have to dismantle your hotel, suffer the loss and losses and that’s a problem,” he added.

The President recently announced that he would place Boracay under land reform after rehabilitation works in the island. He has also authorized an audit of the lands amid reports most of the areas are built with residential and commercial structures.

The six-month closure of Boracay has been approved by the President over concerns the island, best known for its white sand beach and crystal clear water, has become a cesspool due to sewage problems. The island shutdown, which will begin on April 26, would allow the massive rehabilitation of the island, including dismantling of illegal structures and upgrading sewage systems.

The President, in his remarks today, said he prefers to give the land to Filipinos than foreigners following the island’s temporary closure.

“If you really want to know ang sa puso ko, I would give it to the farmers kasi agriculture ‘yan eh,” he said.

“Ibigay ko muna sa Pilipino. Bakit ko ibigay sa mga mayaman? Bakit ibigay ko sa mga foreigner?” he said.

Duterte maintained that Boracay was not intended for commercial use, admitting that he was unaware how many people were given titles over these lands.

“It is not for use to build something inside the area which we are trying to clean. Now what’s the problem? The problem is the whole of the island, according to the Supreme Court, is really forestal pati agriculture,” he said.

Duterte said former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told him that she never signed any proclamation segregating a portion of Boracay for commercial use.

“And yet you find so many hotels, entertainment and everything. And even something like, mentioned like something, sabi, ‘o casino.’ I never discussed that,” he said.

Duterte, meantime, expressed hopes that the country’s other tourist destinations would also grow following Boracay’s temporary closure for rehabilitation.

“There are many resorts – Bohol, Cebu, Palawan. And they will have a chance also, a shot at maybe what is… the goods the country can offer. That to me is a consoler. It consoles me na ‘yung ibang resorts, mabubuhay,” added Duterte.

“Boracay, I will clean it and do not wait for any schedule because I am not inclined to proclaim anything there that would change the category from forestal, agriculture then to…so if you ask me now, I’ll give it to the Filipino farmer,” he said.

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Written by Tempo Online

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