DILG: Temporary Boracay closure eyed on April 26

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The inter-agency council in charge of Boracay Island is considering April 26 as the date for the island's temporary closure. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) — The Department of Interior and Local Government said the inter-agency council in charge of Boracay is mulling over April 26 as the date for the island's temporary closure.

"There's no recommended date. At the time we were meeting last Thursday, we were only looking at April 26, but again that's not a done deal yet," Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing told CNN Philippines Wednesday.

Densing said the interagency meeting between Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Interior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu also looked into a closure spanning two months to a year.

"Secretary Cimatu recommended maximum of one year," Densing said. "If the rehabilitation will be done before one year, we will be open right away."

READ: Greener spaces, rail system eyed in initial Boracay masterplan

Densing said the decision will be in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte, who described Boracay as a cesspool in a speech before a business forum in February.

"At the end of the day it depends on the President, but what will happen is that there's always be that 30-day notice (to residents and businesses)," he said.

The Interior Assistant Secretary that business can take the losses associated with the closure.

"Majority of the businesses there have made millions and billions of pesos taking advantage of the beauty of the island for more than 10, 20 years," he said.

The inter-agency council will be meeting representatives from the Trade and Labor Departments in the next few days to aid minimum wage earners who are at risk of losing their jobs.

"Everything is being tapped, and if the island is declared under a state of calamity, more funds can be channeled to the island," Densing added.

The Interior Assistant Secretary also said the inter-agency council has not yet discussed plans of building an "integrated resort" on the island amid Boracay's closure.

"Well right now we were told that the casino is still in the application for a license in PAGCOR," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he will support whatever recommendation Año will make regarding Boracay.

Environment and tourism officials on March 15 recommended the total closure of the island, but Duterte has yet to give an order.