It’s official: Boracay’s 6-month closure starts on April 26

The Philippine’s Boracay island will be closed for six months starting April 26, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed yesterday.

According to Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal of three government departments to place the popular destination on a 6-month total closure to help aid its rehabilitation.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Tourism, and the Department of Interior and Local Government proposed the closure last month.

The specific rules and regulations that will govern the closure have not yet been made public but Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said calamity funds will be “activated” to help displaced workers.

According to data from the municipality of Malay, Aklan, where Boracay is located, at least 30,000 workers will be affected by the closure.

The upcoming closure will be a huge blow to the community that relies on the millions of tourists that visit every year. It welcomed 1.7 million tourists in 2016 alone.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific both announced yesterday that they will start decreasing the number of flights to Kalibo and Caticlan, where two airports with transfers to the island are located.

Despite Boracay’s problems with overdevelopment and waste management, it remains one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines. Last year, Boracay still topped a list of the best islands in the world voted by readers of the Condé Nast Traveler.

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