Floating restaurant in Boracay waters not yet operating
ILOILO CITY –– The proponent of the floating restaurant and bar in the waters off Boracay Island said it is not yet operating pending their application for government permits and clearances.
“We are still applying for business permits and clearances and these are still pending and have not been denied or approved. We will not operate until we can secure approval,” Vladimir Gonzales, president of Home Invest Group of Companies, told the INQUIRER.
Gonzalez said the MV Tawhai anchored in the waters of Malay town in Aklan to allow ocular inspections while their applications before the municipal government and the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) are pending.
He said they also conducted a ceremonial blessing on the floating restaurant and would conduct training for their personnel.
Business and other groups on the island earlier wrote the Boracay Inter-Agency Management Group to protest the planned operation of the floating restaurant and bar.
The officials of the groups said allowing Tawhai Boracay to operate is contrary to the policies being implemented on the island as part of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts.
They said it would also be “unjust” to business operators who are complying with stringent rules and regulations on the island intended to protect the environment.
But Gonzalez said the Tawhai Boracay does not pose a threat to the environment citing “mitigating measures,” including “state-of-the-art” sewerage treatment facilities, ban on plastic straws and bottles, and bringing used utensils and plates to the mainland for washing, among others.
The floating restaurant and bar will be anchored 1.3 kilometers off the nearest shoreline of Boracay near the area where water sport activities are also being conducted.
Gonzalez, who also owns the Lakawon Island Resort and Spa in Cadiz City in Negros Occidental, said the Tawhai Boracay is envisioned to be the “biggest tropically designed floating restaurant and bar in Southeast Asia.”
The three-deck, 66-meter MV Tawhai can accommodate 900 persons and has a two-level diving platform, an outdoor pool, and a 360-degree view deck.
The Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Western Visayas said the MV Tawhai does not require a permit or clearance from its office but from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and Philippine Coast Guard because it is considered a stationary floating restaurant that is movable from one place to another.
The Marina has issued a Certificate of Public Convenience allowing the MV Tawhai to operate as a stationary floating restaurant in “any identified tourist destination in the Philippines.”
Natividad Bernardino, general manager of the Boracay Inter-Agency Management Group, earlier said the application of the proponents of the floating restaurant has not been deliberated by the BIATF, and no permits and clearances have been issued./lzb
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