It's all systems go the soft opening of Boracay island on October 26, half a year after it was shuttered to tourists, the environment department said Sunday.
The holiday island, once dubbed by President Rodrigo Duterte as a "cesspool," was closed in late April to give way to the rehabilitation of its sewerage system and the demolition of illegal structures.
"Ready na ready na tayo para buksan itong Boracay... Hindi na po cesspool ang ating islang minamahal, malinis na malinis na po ang tubig nito," Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda told DZMM Teleradyo.
(We are fully ready to reopen Boracay. Our beloved island is no longer a cesspool. Its waters are now very clean.)
Water activities like paraw sailing, island hopping and jet-skiing, however, may still be banned when Boracay reopens, pending the completion of a study on the island's marine biodiversity, he said.
"Pinipilit po natin, pero sa nakikita po namin, hindi siya (study) aabot ng 26," said Antiporda.
(We are trying, but we expect that the study won't be completed before the 26th.)
Parties and structures on the island's beach front will also be banned, he reiterated.
The government, he added, will also continue monitoring Boracay's water quality and widening the island's roads, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
The island has been one of the top beach destinations in the Philippines.
In 2017, about 3.7 million tourists flew to the island known for its powdery beaches, data from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines showed.
DZMM, 21 October 2018