Nicholo Jallores is a social media manager based in Dubai.
PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
DUBAI – A Facebook post from a Dubai-based Filipino expatriate on the shutdown of Boracay has gone viral on the social media site.
The post, which was shared more than 3,000 times as of Monday, lauded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to close the popular Philippine resort island to tourists for six months beginning on April 26.
Nicholo Jallores, the 35-year-old social media manager behind the viral post, was responding to reactions on social media by veteran singer Jim Paredes and lifestyle videographer Jason Magbanua questioning the government’s decision.
In an interview with Expatmedia.net, Jallores expressed delight that his Facebook post resonated with a lot of people who could connect with the move to rehabilitate the island that Duterte had described as a “cesspool” with its compounded environmental problems.
“They understood the text… We’re in a different age now. Duterte, for all his flaws and shortcomings, has ushered in a form and magnitude of collective self-awareness that the Filipinos have never experienced before. I’m proud to be a part of it,” he told Expatmedia.net.
The decision to shut down Boracay has drawn mixed reactions, with some residents and businesses voicing opposition to the move that they say will cut off their source of livelihood, with others, like Jallores, lauding the move as a timely intervention.
“Boracay was a [expletive] beauty queen of an island, so we opened it up to tourism in the 70’s. Businessmen saw the potential so they all came flooding in willy-nilly, bringing in thousands of job opportunities for people who lived outside of Boracay. Local government saw that Boracay was a money-making mother so they approved business proposals left and right, sustainability be damned,” Jallores said, adding that commercialisation has turned Boracay into “an island-version of Metro [expletive] Manila. Divisoria by the sea”.
It appears that the government has long-term goals to fix the island’s environmental problems. On Wednesday (April 11), Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in an interview with ANC that the government is also considering to limit the number of Boracay tourists once the world-famous beach reopens.
In his post, Jallores also put the spotlight on the Ati tribe, Boracay’s native settlers that did not appear to benefit from Boracay’s commercialisation.
“The problem with the free-for-all commodification of our natural resources is that it turns lands to shit for the benefit of capitalists, not its inhabitants. Case in point: where are the Ati’s now, the original settlers of Boracay? Boracay makes tens of billions of pesos – how much of that actually benefits the Ati?” he said in his post.
Jallores said a Facebook comment from a certain Diego Franco opened his eyes to the plight of the Ati tribe.
“He mentioned how the Ati were displaced by the influx of capitalism in the island. This was a fact that I was completely ignorant of. It triggered me so much that I had to write a follow-up, which did even better than the first,” he said, referring to his first Facebook post.
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