With only more than a month until Boracay Island reopens to the public, President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized the importance of limiting the tourist destination’s carrying capacity.
“Not all Filipinos and all tourists can go to Boracay. It cannot accommodate everyone,” Duterte said in Cebuano during his visit to landslide victims in Naga City, Cebu province.
“If it’s a house, it would be similar to having just one comfort room for a thousand people,” he added.
The President, however, assured the public that the inter-agency task force assigned to oversee the rehabilitation of Boracay was continuously studying the best way to manage the island.
Meanwhile, he also complimented the rehabilitation efforts in the island, noting that Boracay now looks better than before.
“Now it looks good,” Duterte said. He earlier said he intended to visit Boracay one of these days.
The task force is composed of the departments of Environment, Interior, and Tourism.
“They are still trying to see, still studying how to best manage it,” Duterte said.
Earlier, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Boracay’s carrying capacity for tourists would be limited to 19,215 a day. This figure includes 6,405 tourist arrivals a day.
Malacañang has urged the task force to maintain the island’s carrying capacity to assure that its rehabilitation efforts would be sustained.
The task force also recommended evaluating the feasibility of using the extra available rooms, promoting the use of wetlands for filtering out waste from both soil and water, maximizing open spaces for vegetation, minimizing point source pollution, minimizing coastal erosion, and establishing permanent monitoring facilities in designated areas, among others.
Last April 26, Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay for six months after lamenting since February that the top tourist destination has turned into a “cesspool” for its poor sewerage system.
Boracay Island is expected to reopen as scheduled on Oct. 26.