Gov’t resumes demolition of illegal structures in BoracayBy Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
ILOILO CITY—The demolition of illegal structures of a controversial posh resort on Boracay Island resumed on Wednesday despite brief resistance from the resort owner.
Glen Sacapaño, Boracay Island operations officer, said the demolition team was able to enter the Boracay West Cove after more than two hours of negotiations with lawyers of the resort, who had questioned the legality of the demolition.
The demolition continued on Thursday with the removal of cabanas and other structures, according to Sacapaño.
The demolition at Boracay West Cove started on July 19 upon orders of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Interior and Local Government.
The agencies ordered the demolition of illegal structures for violating the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAgT) issued by the DENR to the resort in 2009 during the term of then Environment Secretary Jose Atienza.
The resort built permanent structures in an area covering 3,159 square meters outside the 998-sq m area covered by the FLAgT, according to the DENR Environmental Management Bureau in Western Visayas.
A FLAgT allows the temporary use, occupation and development of any forest land for tourism purposes for a period of 25 years and renewable for the same period. The agreement covers forest lands to be used for bathing, camp sites, ecotourism destinations, hotel sites and other purposes.
Sacapaño, however, said the demolition has not been completed because of bad weather and disputes in the areas covered by the demolition order.
Resort owner Crisostomo Aquino repeatedly denied violating the terms of his resort’s FLAgT and questioned the legality of the demolition of parts of his resort in Barangay Balabag at the northern end of the 1,032-hectare island.
The demolition resumed after the DENR affirmed the delineation of the developed areas that were beyond those covered by the FLAgT.
Sacapaño said the demolition of all illegal structures would take longer because members of the demolition team would need backhoes and other heavy equipment to dismantle concrete structures connecting off-shore rock formations.
The DENR has reported that at least 150 residential and commercial establishments in Boracay violated several laws and regulations, including a requirement for structures to be at least 30 meters from the shoreline.
The illegal structures would also be demolished if their owners do not voluntary dismantle these, according to Julian Amador, DENR Western Visayas regional executive director.