The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest umbrella organization of more than 35,000 enterprises in the country, urges the government to carefully study the possible proposal to close El Nido and Coron, Palawan and to hold a dialogue with key stakeholders to map out rehabilitation plans before considering such actions.
"PCCI also urges concerned LGUs not to wait for the national government’s intervention but rather be more proactive in identifying and cleaning up their respective illegal waste disposal and sewer issues," the group said in a statement.
About a million tourists visit Palawan every year, the bulk of which go to El Nido and Coron. Tourist arrival in El Nido reached 200,000 in 2017 and with the recent closure of Boracay, the figure is much higher this year.
"Closing El Nido and Coron will not be good for business particularly for the legitimate industry stakeholders (i.e., hotels, resorts) who will suffer the most from cancellation of bookings and reservations for the coming months. It will also affect a lot of local livelihoods and jobs," it said.
PCCI said it agrees with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat that if ever extreme action have to be taken, there should not be a complete shutdown of Coron and El Nido but instead, the government must close or heavily fine only those establishments that are proven to have violated environmental codes.
PCCI also proposes that erring officials should be charged or removed from service.