THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday ordered the closure of 10 foreign-owned business establishments for operating in Boracay island without government permits.

The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), through the local government of Malay, Aklan, shuttered Bella’s Bar and Restaurant, Old Captain Cuisine, Ken Minimart, Ken St., Island Staff Restaurant, Coco Spa, Kim Ji Man, W Hostel Boracay Dragon, VIP Souvenir Shop, and YH World Network Service, Inc.

“I once said that Boracay will never be a ‘cesspool’ again, but we need all the support and cooperation of everybody to sustain the gains we have made from the massive rehabilitation we have done to the island. Let us continue to be guardians of the island and prevent it from sliding back,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr. Cimatu earlier ordered the crackdown on business establishments in Boracay, after receiving reports there have been an increase in the number of Chinese-owned businesses catering exclusively to Chinese tourists.

In a statement, Natividad Y. Bernardino, general manager of BIATF, said a committee was formed to look into possible violations of foreign-run businesses, as well as foreigners working in Boracay without valid work permits and visa.

The committee inspected 49 establishments from May 7-9, and 10 were found to be operating without permits from the mayor’s office. Another 14 were found to have incomplete requirements from the local government unit and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

“We cannot allow flagrant violation by foreign nationals of our country’s laws and regulations, especially in the island which we have painstakingly rehabilitated,” Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said. — VMPG