Local execs’ bars among Boracay violatorsBy Nestor P. Burgos Jr. |Inquirer Visayas
ILOILO CITY—Two bars violating building laws on Boracay Island are owned by top government officials who have jurisdiction over the island-resort.
The popular Summer Place Shed and Club Paraw are on the list of 293 structures violating the rule for all buildings to be at least 30 meters from the shore.
Summer Place Shed is owned by Mayor John Yap while Club Paraw is owned by Vice Mayor Wilbec Gelito, both of Malay town in Aklan, which has jurisdiction over the three villages of Boracay.
Yap is serving his second term while Gelito, his first. The two officials ran unopposed in the last elections.
A 200-meter permanent structure of Yap’s bar is violating the easement law.
Yap denied that the structure near the beach is permanent, saying “it’s just a tent.” He said the business is being operated by his twin brother, James.
The structure had been removed on Sunday, he said.
Gelito’s bar, also in Barangay (village) Balabag, is also violating the easement law. The Inquirer tried to call Gelito on Thursday but to no avail.
The list, dated July 1, was prepared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and released by the Department of Tourism, the lead agency in the Technical Working Group (TWG) tasked by President Aquino to review and regulate development activities in Boracay and Baguio City.
The TWG also includes the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Ivene Reyes, provincial environment resources officer, said at least 85 percent of temporary structures violating the easement law had been removed by their owners.
Owners of temporary structures violating easement regulations on Boracay Island had been given until Aug. 28 to voluntarily take them down.
The local government of Malay is set to dismantle the remaining structures after the deadline for all structures to be removed lapses.
The shoreline easement is required as an environmental measure to protect the beach and provide adequate public access.
The easement is among the most violated building and environmental requirements in Boracay, which has been plagued by unregulated development due to the failure or weak enforcement of laws and ordinances.
The list of the 30-meter easement violators includes at least three government-owned buildings, 39 bars and restaurants, 24 sports establishments, 94 resorts and hotels, and 130 houses or villas.
Maria Victoria Jasmin, tourism undersecretary for regulation, coordination and resource generation, said the removal of the structures is part of government’s effort to regulate development activities in Boracay, considered the country’s prime tourist destination.
The first to be removed are temporary structures, which include wind breakers, water barriers, fences, beach beds and kiosks. These will be followed by the removal of all government structures except port facilities.