ILOILO CITY • Fifty-one establishments operating on the Philippine resort island of Boracay are facing closure after being found to have no wastewater treatment facilities and dumping sewage into the sea, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has said.
The move came days after President Rodrigo Duterte directed the department to clean up the world-famous island, comparing it to a "cesspool" and threatening to shut it down in six months if its sewage and garbage problems remained.
The establishments were served notices, dated Tuesday, for the violations. Under the law, establishments and households are mandated to dispose of their septic waste through a treatment facility.
In a statement, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said that while 50 to 60 per cent of all establishments in Boracay appeared to be compliant with the requirement, "all the rest direct their pipes to the canals, which drain to the sea".
He said the notices would be issued to establishments that were illegally connected or not connected at all to the sewage treatment plant on Boracay. "We will give these establishments three to five days to respond. Otherwise, we will cut their water connections," he said.
He added that the establishments - which were not identified - would be given two months to either connect to the sewage treatment plant or install their own wastewater treatment facilities.
Mr Duterte had decried the island's environmental situation in a speech in Davao City last Friday.
One high-end hotel catering mostly to Chinese and Korean tourists on the island said it saw cancellations for bookings this week following Mr Duterte's remarks. Hotels and resorts had expected full bookings for the Chinese New Year holiday tomorrow.
THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK