BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Baguio Bureau) – The verdict is in! The six-month closure of Boracay is a huge success. Even President Rodrigo’s fiercest critics are impressed.
Duterte had ordered the closure of Boracay in order to rehabilitate this island resort and clean up the environment. The powdery white sand on the beach is back and businesses have cleaned up their act to restore the paradise image of Boracay.
Next up: Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines.
Many visitors may no longer find what they’re looking for in this mountain resort. Gone is the scent of pine trees. Gone are the sunflowers that adorn the facade of the city’s mountains and hills. Traffic has become a nightmare, and pollution has become an everyday occurence. Visitors can expect a short supply of water and electricity. It’s an environmental disaster.
In a surprise visit to Baguio this weekend, Duterte announced that he has ordered the closure of the city for six months, beginning November 1, 2018. He says that during this period, the city will be off-limits to tourists. Only registered Baguio residents will be allowed in and out of the city. The only exception are foreign students — mostly Koreans — who are enrolled in local universities.
The “new” Baguio is expected to reopen in mid-April, in time for the annual trek to the city during Holy Week.
It takes political will to clean up the environment, and Duterte has proven he has what it takes to do the job.