MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday said he will visit Boracay Island to distribute land titles when the top tourist destination reopens to the public on October 26.

“I will go to Boracay to distribute the land titles of that big crop of land sa likod ng (behind) Boracay,” Duterte said in an event at the Philippine Army Officers’ Clubhouse in Taguig City.

“I will go there just to distribute the titles. I will not go there for a swim,” he said.

Duterte earlier said he would give Boracay back to the island’s natives by way of land reform once its six-month rehabilitation over.

He has repeatedly referred to Boracay as “a forestal and agricultural land” but said that if lawmakers preferred to keep the commercial quality of the island, he would allow a strip of land for that purpose.

While the President rejected proposals to allow the construction of casinos in the island saying it would not benefit Filipinos, he said investments are still welcome except casinos.

Duterte, meanwhile, reiterated that Boracay could “only handle so much", and stressed the importance of limiting the tourist destination’s carrying capacity.

Upon his orders, the government closed down Boracay to tourists on April 26 after describing it as a “cesspool” due to environmental degradation, worsened by sewage dumped into the ocean.

Six months into its rehabilitation, Duterte complimented the ongoing rehabilitation efforts, noting that Boracay now looks better than before. (PNA)