Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made good on his plan to shut down Boracay island to all tourist activity in order to halt an environmental disaster. The idyllic island which has become incredibly popular with foreign tourists had in recent years deteriorated due to the building of illegal structures where often unlicensed businesses operated in what amounted to a self-contained black market.
Beyond these economic and legal concerns however was the incredible waste problem that saw old sewage systems overflow with filth while piles of waste and scum began towering over once pristine beaches. While the island is closed, illegal structures will be closed down, waste will be cleaned and degraded in environmentally friendly ways and after this, much of the land illegally occupied by black market businesses will be converted to sustainable agricultural land.
There is of course also the possibility for legal and reasonable tourist facilities to be built in the future once unsustainable structures are done away with. In any case, the island will be re-opened for normal tourist activities in six months time.
Duterte’s battle to clean up Boracay must be seen as part of Duterte’s wider war against the black market, oligarchs who bend and break the law openly and a culture of greed, waste and degeneracy. In closing Boracay for a massive project that will both literally and metaphorically clean up the island, Duterte is in fact being contestant with his wider policies for a clean government.
Unlike fighting drugs, fighting environmental decay remains a fashionable cause throughout the world. Because of this, it is surprising that many so-called environmentalists have not praised Duterte’s move which will help a fragile ecosystem recover from the long term effects of pollution, overbuilding and physical contamination.
Instead, little has been said from so-called environmentalists. When one realises that many political/activist movements are used by individuals to further their careers or to sell various products, it is no wonder that many such people have not congratulated Duterte for taking a bold move for Boracay. While Duterte has turned The Philippines into the world’s number one investment destination, Duterte is seeking clean investment that can help create win-win economic scenarios for the people of The Philippines.
What Duterte is not interested in is courting a bunch of egotists in a fake environmental movement who care more about their business platforms than they actual care about natural environments. Once again, Duterte’s policies have exposed the gap between what people say and what people do. From so-called human rights activists who care more about murderous drug users than the lives of children raped and murdered by the drug users, to environmentalists who care more about selling merchandise than actually cleaning up the environment, Duterte forces people to practice what they preach. It’s no wonder therefore that the only people preaching loudly about Boracay are in yellow media who will criticise Duterte no matter what he does, whether he is helping ordinary people to live in a safer country or helping a beautiful island to avoid becoming a filthy wasteland.