President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday threatened to slap sedition charges against those who would actively resist his plan to restore Boracay to its "pristine state."
Duterte issued the warning in a speech in Tarlac City, a day after he declared in Malacañang that he will place the world-famous tourist destination under state of calamity as proposed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"Kung ayaw nila mag-cooperate and they begin to protest, kayo naman ang may kasalanan diyan, you were responsible for the damage all these years, pati 'yung mga local officials who were all nonchalant of the problem there, aarestuhin ko kayong lahat. And if you put up a fight then I'll charge you for sedition [for] preventing government to do what is good for the Filipino people," he said.
Under Article 139 of the Revised Penal Code, sedition is committed by those rising up “publicly and tumultuously” in a bid to forcibly attain acts including preventing the government or any public officer from "freely exercising its or his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order."
Duterte said that the problem in the island resort is an issue of public interest, public health and law and order.
"Kung hayaan mo 'yang ganun, time will come when it is so polluted it can no longer be of use for the next generations. It is to our interest to preserve its pristine state just like before," he said.
He also repeated his appeal to the courts not to interfere by issuing a temporary restraining order on his plan.
"Please do not make it hard for us to operate. It's not a warning actually. I am doing it most respectfully requesting the judiciary to be sparing and huwag niyo kami pahirapan. If you decide to issue a TRO stopping us, think, think a thousand times," Duterte said in another speaking engagement in Clark, Pampanga.
"It's either I would not believe you or I will put you to task for going against what is good for the people," he told local chief executives of Luzon.
The President earlier said that he will shut down the resort island, whom he described as a "cesspool," if its sewage problem would remain unresolved in six months.
Boracay hosts at least two million visitors each year. —KBK, GMA News