Portion of Boracay island closed after pooping incident

Marje Pelayo
(L-R) A woman buries a soiled diaper in the sand while her companion washes the child’s behind on the beach.

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday (August 14) ordered the temporary closure of Section 1 in Boracay Island following an incident where a foreign tourist allowed her child to poop in its shoreline.

A video of the tourist went viral on social media which also showed another woman burying a used diaper into the sand, according to the narration in the recording.

Cimatu, who heads the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), ordered a 2 to 3-day closure of a portion of the beach where the defecation incident happened to allow clean-up operation.

The closed portion was cordoned off and placed with markers that say: “Temporarily closed for swimming. (Clean up ongoing.)”

Within the 48 to 72-hour rehabilitation period, water samples from the affected area will be observed and checked until the tests reveal that water quality is restored to safe level.

According to BIATF General Manager Naty Bernardino, the closure order covers the 100 meter beachfront of Station 1 where the incident happened.

“Mayroong nakabantay doon na (The area is guarded by a) PNP personnel to really enforce the no swimming policy temporary,” Bernardino said.

Meanwhile, the official said they are planning to review all existing municipal ordinances to determine if they remain relevant to the current situation in the tourist island.

“There’s a need to, you know, palakasin pa iyong penalties niya (strengthen the penalities). (Strengthen the) penalty system para talaga ma-prevent, ma-deter ang mga (to prevent, to deter the) violators from doing various violations,” Bernardino said.

Based on the current municipal ordinance of Malay, Aklan, illegal waste disposal in public places in Boracay such as the beach area is punishable with P2,500 fine which, according to Bernardino, is definitely a small amount. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

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