MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A portion of Boracay's shoreline had been closed since Wednesday (Aug 14) to conduct a 48- to 72-hour clean-up after a foreign tourist supposedly let her child defecate in its waters, tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Ms Puyat confirmed that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu instructed Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BITF) general manager Natividad Bernardino to isolate the area for the clean-up.
"Sec Cimatu instructed GM Natividad Bernardino to isolate the area, where the incident happened with markers 100m wide on the shoreline 'No swimming, this area is under clean up' for a period of 48 to 72 hours," Ms Puyat told Inquirer.net in a text message.
A video of a foreign national supposedly letting a toddler poop near the shoreline at Boracay Station 1 recently went viral on social media. Another woman was seen in the video burying the child's soiled underwear in the sand, The Philippine Star reported.
Ms Puyat urged the public to report such incidents to the authorities should they witness them, so those responsible could face penalties for violating environmental laws.
"This was an unfortunate incident but we will not tolerate those who violate the law," Ms Puyat said.
"We encourage the public, who might witness similar incidents, to immediately report offenders to the proper authorities so that they can be promptly apprehended and fined accordingly," she added.
Boracay is under the jurisdiction of the Aklan province town of Malay, whose "Anti-Littering" ordinance prohibits defecating, urinating, spitting, vandalising and dumping trash in public places.
Ms Puyat vowed that the tourism agency would intensify its drive to inform tourists of "travel etiquette" when visiting the country.
"We will continue to coordinate with the tour operators and travel agencies in informing our tourists of the proper travel etiquette when visiting the Philippines and the corresponding fines and punishments if these are not followed," she said.