Palace: Proclamation on Boracay state of calamity out by April 26

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — President Rodrigo Duterte is about to issue a proclamation of a state of calamity in Boracay — and his spokesperson says it will be out soon in the countdown to the island's closure.

"I'm sure he'll have to sign before leaving for Singapore. [That] is the first day that Boracay will be closed to tourists," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines' The Source. The President is leaving for Singapore on April 27 for the two-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.

Boracay will close for clean-up and rehabilitation for up to six months, beginning April 26. The shutdown was only confirmed three weeks before the date.

It was also met with controversy, with residents and workers on the island wondering where they will source their income over the next months. The government has since promised to give them assistance, either through monetary compensation or alternative work.

READ: After Boracay closure, residents and workers are uncertain about their future

Roque said the proclamation is "just a formality" as everyone has already been informed about the closure.

"Don't worry. It can be issued today, tomorrow. It's no big deal. I'm sure it's drafted already," he said.

An executive order or proclamation on the state of calamity will serve as legal basis for the shutdown. It is also expected to fast-track procurement as the island fixes its drainage system.

Related: Disaster officials recommend declaring state of calamity in Boracay

Roque said P2 billion in assistance is ready for release — but the government is still vetting who is qualified to avail of it.

Roque urges employers: Release 13th month pay

The spokesperson also urged employers to release the 13th month pay as the government determines those qualified for assistance.

He said the idea was first floated by Henann Group of Resorts, which operates around five establishments in Boracay.

"Ang crucial lang is, while hindi pa tapos ang vetting on who's going to get government assistance, merong stop-gap measure ang mga workers. Pero ito, voluntary naman ito sa employers," said Roque.

[Translation: What's crucial is, while we are still vetting who's going to get government assistance, there is a stop-gap measure for the workers. But this is voluntary for employers.]

Roque said if establishments do so, the government will recognize the payment and employers no longer have to shell out the 13th month pay in December.

"I don't know what else we could do to recognize them. We should. This is something that came from their own initiative," said Roque.