Boracay rules not yet in place
BORACAY ISLAND — The fun has begun, but the rules are not in place yet.
As waves of tourists poured into Boracay on Monday, officials scrambled to fine-tune measures aimed at protecting the famed resort island from abuse.
Officials of the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF), which oversaw the island’s six-month rehabilitation, said enforcers were confused about how to implement the rules, and the tourists were nonplussed when asked about them.
The rules range from limiting tourists’ entry to checking on their activities while on the island.
Malay Councilor Nenette Graf said the council would seek further clarification on the measures drawn up by the task force since some were deemed “not readily acceptable.”
‘A lot of holes’
Graf said, for instance, that limiting the island’s carrying capacity may soon become a daunting challenge.
“We noted that there are a lot of holes in the procedures, like checking on tourists who extend their stay and check-in at inns that are not accredited,” she said.
As hordes of tourists took to its white sand beaches and pristine waters on Monday, Environment Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor presented a raft of proposed ordinances to Malay town officials, including Graf.
The ordinances were meant to put teeth into the rules crafted by the task force.
The task force, which Rigor coordinates, also wants to ban the construction of structures and staging of activities such as dining, grilling, partying and lighting fireworks on the beachfront.
Water sports, such as jet ski and paragliding, will also be limited, officials said.
“Some of the measures [proposed by the BIATF] are already covered by existing ordinances, and may just require some amendments, while others would need entirely new ordinances,” Graf said.
President Duterte ordered the shutdown of the island to pave the way for a massive cleanup, after he called it a “cesspool” to describe the extent of its environmental decay, supposedly from years of abuse and neglect.
Tricycle drivers are worried about the impending phaseout of gasoline-fed motorcycles and tricycles in favor of electric tricycles, or e-trikes.
‘No to Grab’
E-trike drivers, for their part, hung “No to Grab” posters on their vehicles to express their opposition to the planned operation of the ride-hailing company Grab on the island.
Since Friday’s reopening, enterprising islanders have been seen building sandcastles on the 4-km stretch of White Beach and collecting P20 fee for photos per person despite earlier pronouncements that these will be regulated.
Vendors were also roaming the beaches to hawk their wares despite Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu’s earlier pronouncement that they would be banned “to give tourists some privacy.”
“It’s also unfair that they consider us a nuisance to tourists. We can agree not to bother the visitors if that is what concerns the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources),” said a man selling “taho” (soy bean pudding).
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