Philippine holiday island to close for clear-up

Philippines approves six-month closure of Boracay from April

In February, Mr Duterte said Boracay's water had turned into a "cesspool" with human waste being discharged into the sea. "And the closure is necessary to ensure that Boracay will be there for the next generation".

Foreign tourists try to get a tan on the white sands of the world- famous Boracay Island, which will be closed starting April 26.

"Boracay will be relaunched", Duterte's Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The amount will come from the national and local governments, as well as the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Labor and Employment (DoLE).

Experts said the measure also appeared to contradict the government's own pro-development policy for the island, including the recent approval of a planned $500-million casino and resort on Boracay.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd has offered work to 5,000 displaced workers, who will be paid minimum wage to "do other work that they are used to doing".

"We have to fast track everything".

"We have to swallow the bitter pill if we wish to sustain and protect the island of Boracay", Frederick Alegre, assistant secretary for tourism, told a news conference.

"There will be no income and we have bills to pay so I don't know how I will survive".

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A representative of Shangri-La said it would issue a statement later, while a source at the Savoy Hotel said it was receiving a lot of re-bookings for when the island reopens. "So, if everybody comes into the picture, we can cut the process by at least two months", Densing said.

As much as P20 billion will be lost due to the six-month closure of Boracay Island.

Discovery World said it has started to refund customer deposits, rebooking them to future dates or to its resort on the island of Palawan.

Officials said they were willing to take a hard line, saying police and potentially even soldiers would enforce the closure.

Inspectors found over 800 environmental violations.

Lawyers however are finalizing the drafts of administrative and criminal charges against local government officials and individuals responsible for Boracay's problems.

"Let us agree on some fundamentals", Duterte said, adding that he was ready to spend money to "subsidise" the rebels.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday approved the closure of the country's most famous tourist island, Boracay, for six months from April 26, his spokesman said, paving the way for a major cleanup of what he had described as a "sewer pool". The government will provide "alternative and temporary" livelihood support to the workers who will be affected by the shutdown.

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