DoT-6 recommends temporary ‘self-closure’ in Gigantes Island as ‘preventive’ step

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Gigantes Islands, Tambobo Bay now red tide-free; 10 areas still positive
Scallop gathering is a main livelihood in the coastal town of Carles, which includes Gigantes Island. — MELISSA LUZ T. LOPEZ

THE DEPARTMENT of Tourism-Western Visayas (DoT-6) has recommended that tourism establishments in Gigantes Island, under the municipality of Carles, undertake a temporary closure for three to four months to give way to an island clean-up and upgrade their facilities. “They could self-close if they want. It’s just a suggestion but the decision lies with the local government unit,” DoT-6 Regional Director Helen J. Catalbas told the media. The suggestion was presented during the Northern Iloilo Cruise Tourism Ocular Inspection and Stakeholders Dialogue at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol on July 10. Ms. Catalbas said the DoT is ready to provide seminars to front liners such as tricycle drivers, pump boat operators, and restaurant owners, among others, to improve the island’s tourism services. She also stressed that the proposed closure is just a preventive measure, not curative, “meaning, that before siya maglala (it gets worse).” The proposal is intended to prevent Gigantes from suffering the fate of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan, which is currently closed to tourism for six months for rehabilitation. Carles Mayor Salagunting A. Betita welcomed the suggestion and said he will take it up with the island’s tourism operators. “There will be a need to offer them alternative livelihood for the affected employees,” he said. The mayor also said that he will form a committee to assess the establishments’ compliance to the regulations. — Louine Hope U. Conserva