World

Boracay people upset about ‘cesspool’ label

MANILA Residents and business operators on the Philippine resort island of Boracay are unhappy with President Rodrigo Duterte likening the tourist destination to a pit of human waste.

But some welcomed his directive to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to solve the sewage and garbage problem on the island or risk having it shut down.

In a speech at a business forum last Friday, Mr Duterte called Boracay "a cesspool", adding the sewage and garbage problem was destroying the island's ecosystem and posing a threat to the health of millions of visitors.

"You go into the water, it is smelly. Smell of what? S***. Because it all comes out in Boracay," he said.

A resident business operator said calling the island a cesspool showed Mr Duterte was "probably misinformed of the nature and magnitude of the problems".

Another resident said the President's hardline stance could move other officials to take action.

"Maybe the governor, congressman and local government units will wake up."

A business leader said Boracay's problems had worsened because of inadequate support from the government, citing the island's drainage system, which had yet to be completed more than 10 years after the project started.

Mr Ricky Alegre, the Department of Tourism spokesman, said a number of establishments were draining their sewage directly into the sea.

Of the 150 establishments recently inspected, only 25 were connected to the sewage line, he said. Mr Duterte earlier approved the creation of a task force to deal with the problems.

Mr Cimatu also warned owners that their establishments would be shut down if they were found releasing sewage into the sea. - THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

WORLD