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      Cimatu tasked to decide on closure of Boracay

      Jonathan L. Mayuga & Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo -

      March 6, 2018

      In Photo: Foreign and local tourists go about their business, unaware of the possible fate of Boracay. Task Force Boracay—composed of the secretaries of the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government, and of Tourism—has discussed the possibility of closing the world-famous island resort for two month

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      Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who was reportedly authorized by President Duterte to decide on the fate of Boracay, will assess the cooperation of Boracay stakeholders in the implementation of remedial measures before he makes a final recommendation on the island’s possible closure.
      “If they will not cooperate, well, the secretary might eventually recommend closure,” lawyer Jonas R. Leones, Cimatu’s designated spokesman, told the BusinessMirror.
      “Given our deadline by the President, the DENR secretary is determined to work faster and the cooperation of all stakeholders is needed.”
      Government sources, who attended the Cabinet meeting on Monday that stretched late close to midnight, confirmed the decision of Duterte to wait for Cimatu’s recommendation. “The DENR was given the authority to decide whether or not to close Boracay, per
      [instruction of] President Duterte,” said a government source in a Viber message to
      the BusinessMirror. Leones said this means “the President has faith and trusts Secretary Cimatu.”
      But President Duterte said on Tuesday he is mulling over the proposal of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to declare a state of calamity in Boracay.
      “If Boracay is under a state of calamity, assistance could be given to those who will be displaced financially,” the President said in his speech during the oathtaking of the members of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang.