THE government has released P448 million to finance livelihood programs that will benefit workers affected by Boracay’s six-month closure.
These funds, which were released to the Department of Labor and Employment, will be spent for emergency employment and training programs that will benefit workers displaced by island’s shutdown, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.
The financial aid will cover 17,735 registered formal sector workers in Boracay’s tourism industry.
Boracay has been closed to tourists starting Thursday, April 26 for a six-month clean-up and rehabilitation drive as ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. The plan is to demolish illegal structures and install waste management and sewerage systems in the popular tourist destination.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the funds were drawn from the P13-billion Contingent Fund under the P3.767-trillion national budget for 2018. This allocation “may be used to cover the funding requirements of new or urgent projects and activities of the national government agencies” subject to the approval of the President, the DBM said.
The Labor department has set up the Boracay Emergency Employment Program in response to the temporary shutdown, eyeing to provide safety nets for workers and small firms which will lose their businesses during the period.
“Under this program, worker-beneficiaries shall get 50% of the prevailing minimum wage rate in the region for six months, which shall be linked to employment facilitation, training and livelihood programs,” the DBM statement read.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has said that the closure of Boracay will have a “minimal” impact to overall economic growth, saying that visitors may instead choose to travel to other islands in the Philippines.
Losses are expected at roughly P2 billion, although over 30,000 workers from both the formal and informal sectors are expected to be affected. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez