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No longer a cesspool, Boracay to reopen on Oct. 26 – Cimatu

/ 06:58 AM July 12, 2018

CASH-FOR-WORK Residents of Boracay are hired by the Department of Labor and Employment to clean the resort island’s beaches under the government’s cash-for-work program. —LYN RILLON

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has reaffirmed that Boracay Island would be reopened to tourism on Oct. 26.

“I would like to say categorically that we will be opening Boracay [on] Oct. 26 … Categorically, I am saying that Boracay is no longer a cesspool,” Cimatu told lawmakers during a Wednesday hearing by the House of Representatives’ natural resources committee.

Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr. said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) timeline was “on track” and they were “just awaiting the completion of the paving of the roads.”

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The DENR is also concentrating on the “demolition of occupants in the wetlands, because that’s directly related to our objective of cleaning the water,” Adobo added.

Beach sewer line

However, the Boracay Island Water Co. Inc., raised concerns over DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2018-06, issued on June 26, which decommissioned the sewer line along the White Beach area due to the contamination of surrounding waters.

Under the circular, hotels and resorts in the area with more than 50 rooms would be required to set up their own sewage treatment plants (STPs), while those with fewer rooms would be given the option to share facilities.

Joseph Michael Santos, general manager of the water company, appealed that 23 large establishments and 607 smaller ones be allowed to access the main road sewer for the time being.

‘30-percent connection’

Santos said only four large establishments and 76 smaller ones were exclusively connected to the decommissioned beachfront sewer and would need to set up their own STPs.

He said Cimatu was considering the appeal.

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If the island is reopened in October, however, “we are looking at maybe only 30-percent connection,” because of the need to upgrade old pipelines and lay new ones, as well as install pumps, he said.

Santos also said the DENR order requiring each establishment to have its own STP would “increase the carbon footprint along the beachfront area.”

Aside from the destruction of mangroves, sewage contamination has been pinpointed as one of the causes of damage to Boracay’s environment.

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TAGS: Boracay cleanup, Boracay closure, DENR, Ernesto Adobo Jr., Roy Cimatu
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