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Philippines’ Duterte refuses to compensate hotels affected by island closure

Staff Writer |
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not compensate hotel owners on Boracay island, one of the country’s main tourist destinations, for losses caused by the temporary closure of the island due to water pollution.

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During a televised address, Duterte added that he wanted to return the land to Filipino farmers after the island’s rehabilitation, and confirmed the government would provide a 2 billion peso ($38 million) aid package to those affected.

“I will not spend a single centavo for hotel owners,” Duterte said.

Last week, he ordered the six-month closure of Boracay island to the public, starting April 26, after describing it as a “cesspool” of water pollution.

Faced with estimated losses of 56 billion pesos which the closure is expected to cause, the government is planning to place the island under a state of calamity in order to trigger the release of relief funds.

Duterte clarified, however, that the fund would only serve “poor Filipinos,” referring to the over 32,000 inhabitants who make their living directly or indirectly from tourism.

In 2017 alone, Boracay received 2 million visitors.

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