Duterte warns hotels in ‘critical’ Palawan to protect its waters

By CNN Philippines Staff

The President issued a warning against hotel owners in the island of Palawan, which houses some of the country’s top tourist spots, to keep its shores and waters clean.

During the celebration of Palawan’s first Subaraw’s Biodiversity Festival, President Rodrigo Duterte said hotel owners should add water treatment facilities to preserve the beauty of the island since its safety has now become “critical.”

“I’m giving notice also to all hotels nag-operate diyan sa dagat [operating near the seas]. Huwag ninyong itapon ‘yung tubo ninyo diretso [Do not throw your wastes directly to the waters]. If you want to build a hotel, add another so many million to have a water treatment,” he said during his visit to Puerto Princesa on Saturday.

The President added that Palawan is in danger amid tensions over the South China Sea.

“Palawan is critical, very critical. Kaya —kasi ‘pag nagputukan ‘yang China Sea na ‘yan, ang lahat ng bala na-misfire pupunta dito,” he warned.

[Translation: Palawan is critical, very critical – because if they blow up the South China Sea, all the misfired bullets will reach here.]

He maintained all establishments should follow environmental laws. He cited Boracay’s rehabilitation as an example, saying it has improved since its six-month closure.

Ngayon, maganda na (Boracay)…You protect your crown jewel ng Palawan which is really ‘yung mga magagandang lugar. Avoid overcrowding. Iyang El Nido na ‘yan, iba. Ganun. Diretso,” he said.

[Translation: Now, it’s (Boracay) beautiful. You protect the crown jewel of Palawan which is its most beautiful place. Avoid overcrowding. Like El Nido. Immediately.]

“Follow rules. Period. Make the day perfect. Do not look for trouble. Just follow the law,” he instructed.

This comes after Boracay island reopened its doors to the public on October 26. Questions have since been raised on which tourist destinations will be closed next.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat earlier said she has sent notices to tourist destinations, including El Nido, Palawan to remind resorts to comply with environmental laws such easement space for beachfront shorelines.

Palawan was also named one of the top three best islands in Asia this year by international travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.

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