The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is on track to complete the extensive rehabilitation of Boracay Island by the first half of 2022.
"With the strong leadership of all the task force member agencies and the local government of Aklan, and the cooperation of the locals of the island and all stakeholders, we are very close to finishing our major tasks so that we can turn over a better Boracay to the next management team," said DENR Secretary and BIATF Chair Roy A. Cimatu.
The BIATF, co-chaired by the Department of Tourism and Department of the Interior and Local Government, was created on May 8, 2018, under Executive Order No. 83.
In September 2021, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order No. 147 extending the term of the BIATF until June 30, 2022.
"To reverse the degradation of the island, we have to work on all issues that caused its deterioration. These include recovering the beach areas and cleaning its waters, regaining the wetlands which are the island’s ‘kidneys,’ restoring ecosystems, and clearing and paving the roads that are designated for public transport," Cimatu said.
“Following the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that the entire island of Boracay will be declared as a land reform area, Certificates of Land Ownership Award were distributed to the Ati tribe who are the original inhabitants of the island,” added Cimatu.
Guided by the Boracay Action Plan for 2018 to 2022, Malay Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista has issued demolition orders and notices to vacate to the owners of the remaining commercial and residential structure encroaching the 25+5 beach easement and Wetland Nos. 6 and 9.
Theme 1 of the action plan, which is the Enforcement of Laws and Regulations particularly on the enforcement of the 25+5 meter beach easement rule, is about 85 percent complete and expected to be finished by April 2022.
Under Theme 2 or Pollution Control and Prevention, the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau-Region 6 (EMB-Western Visayas) regularly conducts monitoring of the fecal coliform level in the waters of Boracay Island.
The results of the latest water sampling analysis showed that fecal coliform level was at 11 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 ml), which means Boracay's waters remain fit for swimming and other recreational activities.
"Through the conduct of regular water sampling, we are immediately able to identify areas that show possible violations of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004," said Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Natividad Bernardino.
The DENR-EMB is also expected to inspect the Lugutan and Tulubhan Bay areas due to reports of illegal water discharges primarily coming from households that have yet to be connected to the sewer network.
In 2018, Cimatu issued Memorandum Circular 2018-06, requiring each establishment with 40 rooms and above, in the White Beach area to have its sewage treatment plant.
Under Theme 3 or Rehabilitation and Recovery of Ecosystems, the DENR-Western Visayas will be submitting to the BIATF the applications of the Aklan provincial government for tenurial instruments in the island including Gratuitous Special Use Permit (GSUP) for Tourism Market and the road located at Forestland Block G/Wetland 6 and Wetland 5.
It will also be submitting to the BIATF the application of Boracay Tubi Systems, Inc. (BTSI) for Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) for the construction of a water tank that will supply potable water to a portion of Brgy. Balabag and the entire Brgy. Yapak, among its other concession areas.
BTSI is also applying for SLUP for the Pelayo Pumping Station that holds 800 cubic meters of raw water from mainland Malay and pumps raw water to the Angol Treatment Plant.
The station supplies water to the entire Brgy. Manoc-manoc and the rest of Balabag.
Under Theme 6 or Coastal and Marine Conservation and Protection, the DENR-Western Visayas is expected to complete its carrying capacity study for diving sites in Boracay.
"Aside from the White Beach, Boracay is also known for its dive sites. This is the reason why we have to establish their carrying capacities — to regulate the number of divers at any given time," Bernardino said.
The construction of roads, improvement, and rehabilitation of Boracay Circumferential Road Section 4 from the junction of Tambisaan to Cagban Port, 24/7 Bolabog Road, and Bolabog Ati-Village Pathwalk are also ongoing.
The projects for the other portions of the circumferential roads will also be implemented soon. ###
- Published: 18 December 2021