After Boracay, El Nido and Coron in Palawan up for rehabilitation

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This report was updated to include more information from environment officials.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — The inter-agency task force that took on Boracay Island has its sights set on a new destination: El Nido and Coron in Palawan.

The task force, comprised of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced on Wednesday its plans to rehabilitate the top tourist spots in the Philippines.

The final recommendation has yet to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, but the Interior Department hopes the whole town will not be shut down for the clean up.

"Maybe there is no need to close El Nido in its entirety," said Año. "We can do the clean-up and rehab even without closing El Nido... with the cooperation of the LGUs and the public or the tourists coming in."

The rehabilitation plan comes after the six-month closure of Boracay, which was ordered cleaned after Duterte dubbed it a "cesspool" for its pollution problem.

Boracay and Palawan face similar problems, such as building easements near the shoreline, waste disposal, oil spills from boats, and overcrowding.

Environment officials claim that some structures tagged as violating the law already started self-demolition to ensure rehabilitation would be cheaper.

Cimatu said 22 establishments in El Nido have already closed. He also promised that the Department of Environment and Natural Resrources (DENR) would keep an eye on the neighboring municipality of Coron.

"We'll dedicate a big portion of DENR presence there para tutukan itong dalawang [to focus on these two] tourist destinations there... El Nido [and] Coron," said Cimatu.

Puyat added the government would commission a study on the carrying capacity of El Nido.

"I can describe it as overcrowded. There are too many tourists, that's why we really need a carrying capacity," she said. "Ang lagoon na nakita ko, masyadong maraming kayaks and boats, at hindi malinis. Madumi, nagtatapon sa lagoon."

[Translation: The lagoon I saw had too many kayaks and boats, and it was not clean. It was dirty, (people) were throwing (trash) into the lagoon.]

A dedicated security task force in El Nido, which has about 45 islands, is also in the pipeline to ensure the safety of all tourists visiting the islands.

After El Nido and Coron, the task force is set to pay a visit to Panglao Island in Bohol and Siargao in Surigao del Norte next week.

"Marami pa. Naumpisahan na, ituloy na natin," Cimatu said.

[Translation: There's a lot more. We already started it, let's get on with it.]

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Paolo Barcelon contributed to this report.