Philippines’ Boracay island reopens after 6-month cleanup

DUBAI: Boracay, the Philippines’ world-famous island resort, has reopened for a test run after it was temporarily closed for a cleanup operation led by the Philippine government, CNN reported.

The test run involved a small group of tourists, who were invited to try the newly improved facilities of the resort off the main island of Aklan.

One of the main improvements done in the island was its sewerage system, which Philippine Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu confirmed as “100 percent” complete.

But while the beaches were signed off as safe for recreational activities, officials said that full rehabilitation could still take up to two years.

The cleanup, which lasted six months, started in April after Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte called the area a “cesspool” because of unclean waters.

Reforms have already taken place in the 6-month duration of the rehabilitation work, and officials have greenlighted a public opening on Oct. 26.

New rules

The government has set firmer regulations to maintain Boracay, including limiting the number of tourists allowed to stay on the island.

According to local media, only 19,000 tourists will be able to enter the island on the condition they present hotel reservation slips. Further, availability of hotel rooms will also be reduced to between 6,000 and 9,000 from a previous 12,000.

Other rules have been announced such as the temporary suspension of all water activities, prohibition of beachside dining, banning of souvenir shops and hawkers, among others.

Officials vowed to implement these rules as the island opens for tourists.

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