DENR chief repeats vow to oppose Boracay Island Development Authority | Inquirer News
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DENR chief repeats vow to oppose Boracay Island Development Authority

/ 04:40 AM October 25, 2021

BEYOND THE BEACH This panoramic view of Boracay Island, taken in October 2020, seems to bolster a 2018 study cited by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, which shows that the island, famous for its white sand beach and first-class accommodations, may be nearing its carrying capacity amid a construction boom. —JACK JARILLA

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has reiterated its position that the administrative body that will manage Boracay Island should be a regulatory council, not a corporate body.

In an online press conference on the island on Friday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, BIATF chair, said he was “standing by the initial position” of the BIATF that the body that would take over the administration of the island should be similar to the task force, rather than the proposal of Congress.

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The House of Representatives last month passed on the third and final reading House Bill No. 9286, or the act creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (Bida) as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) with corporate powers that will formulate the Boracay Action Plan.

The Bida is intended to replace the BIATF, which was created in April 2018 to supervise the rehabilitation of the island. The term of the task force has been extended until June 30, 2022, when President Duterte steps down from office.

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In its position paper, the BIATF had said that HB 9826 provided for the creation of a special economic and tourism zone, including Boracay Island, and empowered the Bida to undertake reclamation projects.

‘Overdevelopment’

But the BIATF said Boracay was already faced with “overdevelopment” and “overtourism” that even as early as 2018, there was already a study which showed that the structures being built on the island—hotels, resorts, residential and other commercial establishments—were starting to exceed the island’s carrying capacity.

Aklan officials and many residents on the island have also opposed a GOCC-type authority, particularly on the power granted to the Bida to issue business licenses and building permits and to set a limit to real property taxes that the local government can collect.

They said these provisions would violate the policy of devolution and decentralization, adding that the creation of the Bida as a GOCC would be “revolting in law, in public policy, in common good and general welfare.”

Detained opposition Sen. Leila de Lima earlier decried moves to create a GOCC-type Bida.

“Make no mistake, this is an act of unjust taking driven by people who are salivating at the prospect of using the island and its natural resources as a cash cow to satisfy their personal greed, rather than the betterment of residents,” she had said in a statement.

—NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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TAGS: Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, Boracay Island Development Authority, DENR, Roy Cimatu
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