BORACAY REELS FROM TRAVEL BAN: Aklan bats for local market to boost island’s tourism

Aklan Gov Florencio Miraflores

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

It’s still business as usual in Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan despite massive cancellations of hotel bookings by its biggest foreign patrons, the Chinese.

Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said the ban of tourists from China has a big impact on the province’s tourism industry.

Miraflores said the island is still recovering after the 6-month rehabilitation of the island, as well as the effects of Typhoon Ursula that battered Panay Island on Christmas Day of 2019.

“We barely recovered from the impact of Typhoon Ursula and now, there are the massive cancellations of foreign and local tourists,” he said.

Miraflores assures local tourists that Boracay Island is safe amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.

“There is no truth to the rumor going around that there is already a confirmed case in Boracay,” he said.

The Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 said Western Visayas remains free of nCoV.

“We’re still open for business. The one really affected are resorts that cater mainly to clients that are chartered directly from China,” he said.

Aside from local tourists, Miraflores said Koreans are still coming in the island via chartered flights

On February 7, the local government of Malay announced on its Facebook page that it is “temporarily suspending the entry of all persons with travel history from China, Macau, and Hong Kong for the past days to the municipality.”

Acting Mayor Frolibar S. Bautista issued Executive Order No. 04 series of 2020 imposing the ban “as well as the implementation of other precautionary measures to combat the spread of 2019-nCoV.”

The post added that “Border Patrols are deployed to the boundaries of Malay to check passengers’ travel history especially tourists.”

But it also appealed to the public “not to panic because there is no confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in the municipality of Malay.”

The ban is just a precautionary measure to ensure that the municipality will remain free from 2019-nCoV.

“We are asking for your understanding and cooperation as we take the necessary steps to protect the welfare and health of the Malaynon community,” the announcement added.

Miraflores said that the banning is a prerogative of Malay and that the provincial government is ready to help and assist them in monitoring these individuals.

On Wednesday, Miraflores said there was a cruise ship that arrived in Boracay Island.

“But we did not allow them to disembark. While they are Europeans, they passed through Hong Kong,” he said.



Before the Malay LGU made the announcement, there were reports that 78 tourists from mainland China arrived in Boracay on Tuesday despite earlier orders of President Rodrigo Duterte disallowing flights from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Miraflores on Thursday said the tourists may have entered through other international airports such as Cebu and Manila before the ban was announced on February 2.

“It’s possible that they were already here before the ban started,” he said.



On Friday, local authorities said they are monitoring some 300 Chinese in Boracay for nCoV signs.

But Madel Joy Tayco, deputy information manager of Boracay’s task force for 2019-nCoV, said none of the Chinese tourists showed symptoms such as fever, cough, and cold.

The tourists are being checked by health officials twice daily.

Miraflores said these tourists might be out of Boracay by the end of hen week

“Even if they are monitored, we still treat them as tourists. We should not stigmatize them,” he said.

Miraflores said the 11 Chinese nationals that were earlier monitored in the Aklan training center were treated as guests.

“They’re not at fault here. They were already done with the quarantine period,” he said.

Meanwhile, Miraflores said they’re constantly meeting with other members of the inter-agency task force.

He said they have prepared in allocating an isolation room at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo town for those deemed as persons under investigations (PUIs).

“Secondly, we have agreed also that we will put up a temporary holding facility, under the management of the Bureau of Quarantine, which is the training center, in cases there are passengers or individuals that need to be monitored,” he said.

Protocols are also in place that Indi fossil considered as PUIs should be transported to the Tumbokon Hospital, which is the referral hospital.

The province has also instituted a health declaration card and use thermal scanners as measures to prevent nCoV in the province.