‘Expect better, cleaner Boracay’

A view of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan more than two months after it was closed.(Photo from RMN-Aklan’s Facebook page)

The Department of Tourism (DOT-6) assured tourists that a “better, cleaner, and environment-friendly” Boracay Island will welcome them in October this year.

“We will make sure Boracay is ready with its services and facilities before the reopening,” said DOT-6 Director Helen Catalbas.

Last month, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the world-famous island would reopen to tourists not later than October 26, 2018.

Boracay, which was called by President Rodrigo Duterte a “cesspool”, was temporarily shut down last April 26 to pave the way for the six-month rehabilitation of it.

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism Undersecretary Arturo P. Boncato, during a meeting recently, stressed that “only compliant establishments” will be allowed to resume their operations when Boracay reopens.

This, according to the tourism official, was agreed by the Core Group.

The agreement will be presented to DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and other members of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force for their consideration.

“I believe we all had an understanding that each sector shall police its own ranks by making sure members abide by the rules and regulations to operate. Boracay Stakeholders heartily accepted their shortcomings and are doing their best to be compliant,”Catalbas said.

The Core Group also suggested for the regulatory bodies to expedite processing of permits and clearances.

Catalbas said the suggestion takes into consideration the carrying capacity of the island, which DENR is yet to release.

The Core Group approved that by the end of August 2018, 70 percent or 1,700 establishments (all sectors) should be compliant so DOT’s accreditation campaign can start by the first week of September.

The tourism department in the region is set to conduct trainings for Boracay frontliners starting this month. The trainings include effective customer service experience for boatmen, porters, tricycle drivers, and vendors.

It will also hold language training and tourism awareness seminar.IMT