Palace ‘vindicated’ as poll shows most Pinoys back Boracay closure
By Jelly Musico
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacañang on Monday welcomed the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey saying majority of Filipinos support the full closure of Boracay Island to give way for a government-initiated rehabilitation.
“(The) Palace (feels) vindicated and welcomes the support of the people,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message to Palace reporters.
According to the March 23-27 SWS survey, 64 percent of the 1,200 respondents agreed that the six-month rehabilitation should be extended to a year for the full rehabilitation of the island.
Only 16 percent disagreed, while 20 percent were undecided.
The poll also showed that 61 percent of Filipinos believed that the temporary shutdown would increase the number of tourists in the future, while 16 percent disagreed and 23 percent were undecided.
The closure of Boracay got the biggest support from Metro Manila with 71 percent of respondents saying it would help rehabilitate the beauty of the island, while 64 percent from both the balance of Luzon and Mindanao and 61 percent from Visayas also agreed to it.
“Majorities across socio-demographics agreed with the government’s recommendation to close Boracay for one year for full rehabilitation, with stronger support coming from Mindanao, urban areas, and those with higher educational attainment,” the poll report said.
The six-month Boracay closure started on April 26, the same date President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 475 placing three Boracay villages, namely Balaag, Manoc-Manoc and Yapak, under a state of calamity for a year.
Duterte had earlier described Boracay Island, known for its powdery white sands, as “cesspool” due to its worsening sewage problem.
Just two months after the rehabilitation works started, Malacañang expressed hope that Boracay’s pristine waters will be enjoyed by tourists following the sighting of a whale shark two weeks ago.
“That shows that the efforts to cleanup Boracay has succeeded,” Roque said.
An inter-agency task force headed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been tasked by Duterte to reverse the degradation of Boracay Island. (PNA)