The Department of Tourism (DOT) has assured that action will be taken to “fix” Boracay Island, the country’s top tourist destination.
The world-famous island in Malay, Aklan has been hounded by several issues that, according to DOT Secretary Wanda Teo, need to be addressed.
“Rest assured that appropriate solutions will be delivered to fix Boracay,” she said.
Teo together with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu and some local officials conducted an aerial inspection of the island on Jan. 8, 2018.
After the inspection, a closed-door meeting was held at Sangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa, which was also attended by DOT-6 Director Helen J. Catalbas, DENR-6 Director Jim O. Sampulna, and representatives of various environmental and business groups.
Teo said they decided to submit a draft executive order to President Rodrigo Duterte to solve Boracay’s problems.
For the tourism chief, the primary problem is the lack of proper drainage system, which causes flooding in most part of the 1,032-hectare island.
“Ang drainage system nila ‘yan talaga ang problema dito. At every time may flooding sa Boracay, they blame DOT at sinasabi: ‘Ang DOT walang ginagawa [to address the problem],”she said.
“The drainage system made by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), [the DOT’s infrastructure arm], is supposed to be for the rain water, but the problem here is that hotels tap it and connect their drainage system and their waste clogs the drainage. That is one reason why Boracay is flooded and when it drains to the sea, it makes the seawater unsafe.”
Last year, TIEZA poured P760 million into the Phase II of its drainage system project in the island. This 2018, the agency allocated P400 million for the project.
The construction of the project’s Phase II is expected to start this year.
Boracay Island is also suffering from over-development, a business group in Boracay said.
“Big players continue to come in. Puka Beach, the last remaining forest is threatened due to resort development of big players,” The Boracay Foundation, Inc (BFI) said.
Other problems observed by BFI are the absence of proper infrastructure and environmental degradation and overpopulation.
Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said he was “very happy” because of the commitment of the two secretaries to address the problems. IMT