Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to shut top tourist island of Boracay because it is "cesspool" as he warned environmental agencies to manage the sanitary conditions efficiently.
He said that the popular tourist destination known for its white-sand beaches, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from different parts of the world, is filled with faeces and needs to be closed in order to protect the health of the visitors.
"I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool," Duterte told a business forum in Davao city late on Friday (9 February). "You go into the water, it's smelly. Smell of what? S**t. Because it all comes out in Boracay.
"There will be a time that no more foreigner will go there because he will have – when he goes back to the plane to where he belongs – he will be full of shit going back and forth to the restroom," said Duterte.
Authorities at the tourism and environmental departments are embarrassed by Duterte's remarks and assured these will be addressed as soon as possible. Boracay, a tiny island with pristine sands and azure seawaters, is one of world's top tourist destinations.
With nearly two million visitors every year, the island is also a key driver in the Philippines economy.
Water contamination remains a serious problem in the island since many companies drain their sewage water directly into the sea.
"It's a shame that Boracay, which has repeatedly been recognised by prestigious travel magazines as the world's beautiful island, may yet end up a paradise lost if water contamination continues," said the Philippines tourism secretary Wanda Teo in a statement.
In his ultimatum, Duterte had warned: "I'll give you six months. Clean the goddamn thing."