Philippine riot police to close off Boracay island for clean-up

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The Philippines will deploy hundreds of riot police to holiday island Boracay to keep travelers and tourists out and head off potential protests ahead of its six-month closure to for a much-needed clean-up , the Philippine government said on April 17.

President Rodrigo Duterte has branded the popular island and its world-famous white-sand beach a “cesspool”. He has ordered visitors be kept away from April 26 so that facilities to treat raw sewage can be set up and illegal structures torn down. Authorities laid out a lockdown plan to keep out all foreign and Filipino tourists using more than 600 police, including a 138-member “crowd dispersal unit”.

“In any transition, especially for a drastic action such as this, there is always confusion, uncertainties, and low morale,” the regional police director, Chief Superintendent Cesar Binag said at a public forum on the island, aired on national television.

“What we did was to identify the sources of confusion, sources of uncertainty and sources of low morale that might result to agitation and eventually into a security issue,” he added.

Boracay residents will be obliged to carry new identification cards and will be banned from boating and night swimming. Entry to the 1,000-hectare island, located 300 kilometers south of Manila, will be limited to a single small sea port.

The abrupt decision to close Boracay has forced hundreds of hotels, restaurants, tour operators and other businesses to cancel bookings, leaving clients fuming. Businesses on the island have warned that an abrupt shutdown could lead to bankruptcies and job losses for many of the island’s 17,000 hotel, restaurant and other tourism workers, plus some 11,000 construction workers.

The island drew two million visitors last year, earning the country more than a billion dollars in tourism revenue, according to official data.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippines will deploy hundreds of riot police to holiday island Boracay to keep travelers and tourists out and head off potential protests ahead of its six-month closure to for a much-needed clean-up , the Philippine government said on April 17.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippines will deploy hundreds of riot police to holiday island Boracay to keep travelers and tourists out and head off potential protests ahead of its six-month closure to for a much-needed clean-up , the Philippine government said on April 17.

President Rodrigo Duterte has branded the popular island and its world-famous white-sand beach a “cesspool”. He has ordered visitors be kept away from April 26 so that facilities to treat raw sewage can be set up and illegal structures torn down. Authorities laid out a lockdown plan to keep out all foreign and Filipino tourists using more than 600 police, including a 138-member “crowd dispersal unit”.

“In any transition, especially for a drastic action such as this, there is always confusion, uncertainties, and low morale,” the regional police director, Chief Superintendent Cesar Binag said at a public forum on the island, aired on national television.

“What we did was to identify the sources of confusion, sources of uncertainty and sources of low morale that might result to agitation and eventually into a security issue,” he added.

Boracay residents will be obliged to carry new identification cards and will be banned from boating and night swimming. Entry to the 1,000-hectare island, located 300 kilometers south of Manila, will be limited to a single small sea port.

The abrupt decision to close Boracay has forced hundreds of hotels, restaurants, tour operators and other businesses to cancel bookings, leaving clients fuming. Businesses on the island have warned that an abrupt shutdown could lead to bankruptcies and job losses for many of the island’s 17,000 hotel, restaurant and other tourism workers, plus some 11,000 construction workers.

The island drew two million visitors last year, earning the country more than a billion dollars in tourism revenue, according to official data.

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