DILG: Six-month ultimatum on Boracay still stands

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte's ultimatum to clean up Boracay in six months or face closure still stands, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Tuesday.

"Malinaw ang instruction ng Presidente na pag walang improvement after six months ay ipapasara nya permanently ang Boracay," DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año told CNN Philippines in a text message.

[Translation: The President's instruction to permanently close Boracay if there was no improvement after six months is clear.]

"We have to finish our job in six months," he maintained.

Año's clarification came after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque admitted on CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday there was confusion and a "difference of interpretation" in the President's instruction on how to solve Boracay's problems.

"What I thought the President said was six months for the (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Secretary to submit his recommendations on what to do with Boracay," said Roque.

He said he would retrieve the transcript and the tapes of that discussion.

"I noticed in the minutes, it did say six months to close all violating establishments, but there was no mention of closing Boracay itself," he said. "We need to clarify this. That's why I will review the tapes and sit down with (Año)."

The DILG announced it was considering declaring a six-month state of calamity in Boracay to speed up rehabilitation and clean-up efforts. It is also eyeing a 60-day "tourist holiday."

Related: DILG eyes 6-month state of calamity in Boracay

However, business owners in Boracay believe only erring establishments should be shut down.

"What they're saying is... we don't see how immediate closure will result in the rehabilitation of Boracay," said Roque. "They want some kind of major rehabilitation, but they want scientific studies conducted."

Roque acted as counsel to the Boracay Foundation Inc., a non-profit association composed of 150 establishments supporting sustainable business.

The Interior Department said more than 800 establishments have committed violations since 2001.

Related: DILG: Over 800 Boracay establishments have violations

In February, Duterte ordered environment officials to clean up the Visayan island destination because of pollution.

Related: Duterte orders DENR to clean up Boracay in 6 months

Watch the full The Source interview with Roque here.