Aklan execs oppose creation of Boracay Island Dev’t Authority
ILOILO CITY –– Aklan officials are opposing the latest version of a bill that seeks to create a body that will govern Boracay Island instead of being under the sole jurisdiction of local government units.
Officials led by Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores and Representatives Teoderico Haresco Jr. and Carlito Marquez said the consolidated bills now pending at the House committee on government enterprises and privatization would create a corporate body that would “divest” powers from local governments mandated by the Local Government Code.
Marquez, in a letter dated Feb. 2 to Parañaque City Rep. Eric Olivarez, committee chair, raised concerns over provisions of the bill that he said needs to be “revisited.”
These include granting BIDA the power to issue business licenses and building permits and limiting local taxation to the collection of real property taxes.
The consolidated bill, which integrates at least 10 separate related bills, also provides that the island authority will prevail when in conflict with the local government over matters affecting Boracay Island.
The BIDA will be administered by an 11-member board, with the chair appointed by the Philippine president.
Three representatives of the business sector and the secretaries of departments of Interior and Local Government, Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, and Trade and Industry will sit as ex-officio members.
The president will also appoint an administrator and chief executive officer who will serve a six-year term.
Marquez said that in earlier versions of the bill, the president “merely exercises supervisory authority over local government units and not control power.”
The Aklan provincial board on Feb. 1 passed a resolution opposing the creation of BIDA that contravenes the Local Government Code and Philippine Constitution.
In its resolution, the board also supported the Malay municipal council, which is also opposing the latest version of the bill.
BIDA will cover the three barangays of Boracay and Caticlan on the Malay mainland, and a village of neighboring Nabas town.
The body seeks to take over the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, which has been supervising the island’s rehabilitation since 2018 when it was closed to tourists for six months.
Miraflores said the consolidated bill is “very much different” from those that they have supported.
“It violates a lot of provisions of the Local Government Code,” he said in a press conference in the capital town of Kalibo on Feb. 12.
“We are not totally against it. (But) it should be a management body, not a corporation,” the governor said.
Business owners earlier welcomed the creation of an island authority based on a bill in the Senate introduced by Sen. Franklin Drilon.
Many residents and business operators have been pushing for the establishment of a management body instead of placing Boracay Island under the sole authority and management of local government units in Aklan.
They believe that one of the key long-term solutions to the island’s environmental and regulation problems is putting Boracay under a body composed of tourism experts, business operators, and a minority of local officials free of politics and political influence.
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