Boracay Island closure constitutional, says SC

The Philippines re-opened its crown jewel resort island Boracay to holidaymakers on Oct. 26, 2018 – after a six-month clean up aimed at repairing the damage to its environment brought about by decades of unsustainable tourism practices. ALAMY

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the constitutionality of the closure of Boracay, dismissing a petition filed by island workers against its 6-month shutdown, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

The closure, which ended in October, “did not pose an actual impairment of the right to travel,” said Brian Keith Hosaka, chief of the SC Public Information Office.

“The impact of the said proclamation on the right to travel was temporary and merely incidental to the intended rehabilitation of the island,” Hosaka told reporters.

The high court ruled that President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation that called for the 6-month closure was a “valid exercise of police power,” according to Hosaka.

Eleven magistrates voted to affirm the constitutionality, with only Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissenting.

The petitioners against the closure, Mark Anthony Zabal, Thiting Jacosalem and Odon Badiola told the court that the closure would affect their livelihood.

Boracay was closed to public from April to October last year to give way to a massive cleanup. Duterte had likened water pollution on the island to a “cesspool.”

Businesses in the area, which earlier lobbied for a phased rehabilitation, have warned that an abrupt shutdown could lead to bankruptcies and job losses for many of the island’s 17,000 tourism workers and some 11,000 construction. (ABS-CBN News)


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