Jakarta Post

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Video Weather icon 30°C
DKI Jakarta, Indonesia
30°C Partly Cloudy

Dry and mostly cloudy throughout the day.

  • Wed

    26℃ - 32℃

  • Thu

    25℃ - 32℃

  • Fri

    25℃ - 31℃

  • Sat

    26℃ - 30℃

Duterte slams top Philippine tourist island as 'cesspool'

  •  

    Agence France-Presse

Manila | Sat, February 10, 2018 | 09:45 pm
Duterte slams top Philippine tourist island as 'cesspool' Sail boats are anchored at the fabled beach of Boracay island on November 9, 2008. Philippine government on November 11 rejected allegations it was grabbing land from international investors on Boracay island, saying accounts of resorts being forcibly seized were being exxaggerated. Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said the accounts were merely a land dispute between two parties. (AFP/Jay Directo)

The Philippines' famous white-sand island destination Boracay is drowning in feces and may need to be shut down to protect the health of millions of visitors, President Rodrigo Duterte has warned.

The fiery leader gave his brutal assessment of the country's top tourist draw as he told hotels, restaurants and other businesses on the tiny central island to clean up or he would ban tourism there.

"I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool," Duterte told a business forum in his southern home city of Davao late Friday, according to an official transcript released by the presidential palace Saturday.

Red-faced tourism department officials affirmed Duterte's assessment on Saturday, saying it reflected worsening sewage conditions on an island known globally for its pristine white sands and crystal clear waters.

"It's a shame that Boracay, which has repeatedly been recognized by prestigious travel magazines as the world's most beautiful island, may yet end up a paradise lost if water contamination continues," Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in a statement.

Department spokesman Ricky Alegre said a number of establishments drained their sewage directly into the sea.

"There are certain areas there (where)... some establishments have illegally tapped their sewage line into the water line," Alegre told AFP.

Of the 150 Boracay business establishments recently inspected by the government, only 25 were connected to the sewage line, he said.

Many establishments were also building too close to the beach and were even crowding into the roads of the 1,000-hectare (2,470-acre) island, Alegre added.

Boracay attracts more than two million tourists a year and brings in 56 billion pesos ($1.12 billion) in annual revenues, the department and industry sources said.

Duterte warned the situation was a looming environmental "disaster" and a "tragedy" that could soon drive visitors away from the island, located about 190 kilometers (308 miles) south of Manila.

He said he had ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to clean up Boracay or else.

NEWS PULSE

Join the discussions