Four years after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the closure and massive rehabilitation of Boracay Island, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna announced the successful rehabilitation efforts for the famous tourist destination.
“Mission accomplished, Mr. President,” Sampulna declared in the culmination of the rehabilitation and management of the island by the DENR-led Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF)
President Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay Island in 2018 after declaring it a “cesspool” due to uncontrolled development and overcrowding over the years.
The BIATF, formed on May 8, 2018, through Executive Order (EO) 53, was tasked with supervising Boracay’s rehabilitation.
Co-chaired by the Department of Tourism and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the term of BIATF was extended until May 8, 2021 through EO 115.
Its tenure was extended again until June 30, 2022, through EO 148, to give it time to complete its projects.
“Because of the series of EOs by President Duterte, and through the leadership of former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, naging malinis muli ang Boracay,” said Sampulna, noting that Cimatu’s hardwork kept the BIATF’s spirit to carry on with the colossal task.
He added: “Direct draining of sewage into the sea, unorganized solid waste management, and building of hotels and establishments near the beach and roads are some problems that the task force worked on.”
Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Martin Jose Despi said it was no easy task, but was proud of what the collective efforts of the BIATF, local government units, attached agencies, stakeholders, and the people have achieved over the past four years.
“It’s not just about reviving the island. We are also showing the world what Filipinos are capable of and it’s something that we should be really proud of. I don’t think that there is any rehabilitation program in the history of our country that would match what we have done in Boracay,” he said.
Under the enforcement of laws and regulations, about 300 structures at the beachfront were cleared to follow the 25+5 meter beach easement rule.
Over 1,000 structures that have been demolished for the widening and improvement of the Boracay Circumferential Road have already complied with the 12-meter road easement with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Meanwhile, 21 sampling stations were established, and are regularly monitoring the water quality on the island.
The highest fecal coliform level recorded in the last two to five months was 33 most probable number per 100 milliliters, which is within the standard water quality level.
With the help of the DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), it deployed a ground penetrating radar that detects underground irregularities.
Through the use of the radar, DENR-MGB discovered 44 big pipes from establishments that directly discharge wastewater to the beachfront.
Since then, over 100 sewage treatment plants were established among hotels and business establishments, while others are now connected to the sewer line.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority helped to fix pumping stations on the island to avoid any major flooding in the future.
BIATF, together with the municipality of Malay, has also implemented a zero-waste policy by establishing collection points and schedules for the efficient management of solid waste on Boracay Island.
Under the rehabilitation program, five of the nine wetlands were adopted by different private companies, namely Wetland No. 2 adopted by Energy Development Corporation; Wetland No. 3 adopted by San Miguel Corporation; Wetland No. 4 adopted by Aboitiz Equities Ventures; Wetland No. 6 adopted by Boracay Tubi Systems Incorporated; and Wetland No. 8 adopted by JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation.
BIATF also assigned a place for water and other recreational sports to protect and conserve Boracay’s coastal and marine resources. ###
- Published: 22 June 2022