Stressing it was “unhappy and offended” over the video of a tourist allowing her child to defecate on a beach on Boracay Island, Malacañang on Thursday called on visitors, foreigners and Filipinos alike, to follow the rules and regulations in the recently rehabilitated tourist destination.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also called for the installation of more restrooms and portable toilets where visitors can relieve themselves while on the island’s pristine beaches.
“It’s a violation … Of course we are not happy about that. It’s unsightly. We’re supposed to be cleaning it up, then some people are messing it up. It’s not good,” Panelo told a press briefing.
He added: “Whether it was a Filipino or a [foreign] tourist, it’s offensive to the sight. It’s not a good scene.”
The Palace issued the statement a day after the Boracay interagency task force closed a 100-meter span of the 4-kilometer white beach at Station 1 at the northern end of the island to pave way for a cleanup. Swimming in the area was also temporarily prohibited.
Earlier this week, a video clip of a tourist allowing her child to defecate on the beach went viral on social media. It showed the woman washing her child’s buttocks and even burying a soiled diaper in the sand.
But on Thursday, the area was reopened to the public after test results showed the water quality there was within normal levels of coliform bacteria.
Natividad Bernardino, general manager of the Boracay Interagency Rehabilitation Management Group, said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu directed the reopening of the area.
An ordinance of Malay town prohibits defecating in public places. The offender in the Boracay beach incident has not yet been caught.
The incident came more than a year after President Duterte ordered a six-month closure and rehabilitation of Boracay in April 2018. The island reopened in October.
Panelo urged the putting up of more restrooms and portalets, noting that “you have nowhere to go if you are on the beach and you want to relieve yourself.
“We also have to help out our tourists,” he said.
Bernardino said the Department of Tourism would distribute leaflets to foreign tourists and visitors giving information on prohibited acts while on the island.
Dionisio Salme, chair of the business group Boracay Foundation Inc., said business operators promised to enhance their information and education campaign among their guests.
“We also ask tour operators and tour guides to fully explain to their guests to follow strictly the environmental laws and rules on the island,” he said. —REPORTS FROM JULIE AURELIO AND NESTOR BURGOS JR.
PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK PAGE OF BIARMG