Statement of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan on Boracay closure

April 26, 2018
Photo source: Metro Boracay Task Force (MBTF)

Boracay island is a tourist destination with a long coastline of soft, white sand beach. It is not a conflict area or a war zone.

Why is the government deploying over 600 personnel from the ranks of the police, armed forces, coast guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and civic groups in Boracay island during its six-month closure? There are no terrorists or invaders in Boracay.

Meanwhile, China’s aircraft freely landed on Mischief Reef recently even if the area is within our exclusive economic zone as ruled upon by the United Nations tribunal. Also, China has unveiled a monument in Fiery Cross Reef on Spratly Islands to mark its construction activities there — an area also within our exclusive economic zone based on the same UN ruling, to which the government’s response appears to be meek submission.

It is a shame that the administration is deploying the military, police, and the coast guard in Boracay while China has been blatantly trespassing in our territory and disrespecting our sovereignty.

The only threat to the Boracay island and its residents is the government that ordered Boracay’s closure without a plan for the 36,000 people who will lose their jobs.

It is ironic that the government can express so much love to China’s President Xi Jin Ping but can’t be bothered to provide jobs for the displaced Boracay workers.

Ang isla ng Boracay ay isang tourist destination na may mahabang baybaying nababalot ng pinong, puting buhangin. Hindi ito conflict area o war zone.

Bakit nagpapadala ang pamahalaan ng higit 600 tauhan mula sa hanay ng pulis, armed forces, coast guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, at mga civic group sa Boracay sa anim na buwang pagsasara nito? Walang terorista o mananalakay sa Boracay.

Samantala, malayang nakalapag ang aircraft ng China sa Mischief Reef kamakailan kahit na ito ay nasa loob ng ating exclusive economic zone na pinagdesisyunan ng United Nations tribunal. Nailantad din ng China ang isang monumento sa Feiry Cross Reef sa Spratlys Islands upang markahan ang mga pagtatayong ginagawa roon — isang lugar na nasa loob din ng ating exclusive economic zone base sa UN ruling pa rin ito, na ang tugon ng pamahalaan ay parang kiming tupa.

Nakakahiya na dinedeploy ng administrasyon ang militar, pulis, at coast guard sa Boracay habang lantarang nanghihimasok ang China sa ating teritoryo at hindi ginagalang ang ating soberanya.

Ang tanging banta sa isla ng Boracay at sa mga residente nito ay ang pamahalaang nag-utos sa pagpapasara ng Boracay nang walang plano para sa sa 36,000 na kataong mawawalan ng trabaho.

Isang kabalintunaan na kayang magpahayag ang pamahalaan ng labis na pagmamahal kay President Xi Jin Ping ng China pero hindi pwedeng maabala na magbigay ng trabaho para sa mga manggagawa ng Boracay.