Duterte declares state of calamity in Boracay
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in Boracay following its total closure for six months.
Duterte signed Proclamation No. 475 placing the villages of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag, and Yapak under state of calamity.
The proclamation also ordered the temporary closure of the resort island, starting April 26.
The proclamation stated that the inter-agency tasked to rehabilitate Boracay found the following violations that led to its temporary closure:
- There is a high concentration of fecal coliform in the Bolabog beaches located in the eastern side of Boracay Island due to insufficient sewer lines and illegal discharge of untreated waste water into the beach, with daily tests conducted from 6 to 10 March 2018 revealing consistent failure in compliance with acceptable water standards, with an average result of 18,000 most probable number (MPN)/100m1, exceeding the standard level of 400 MPN/100m1;
- Most commercial establishments and residences are not connected to the sewerage infrastructure of Boracay Island, and waste products are not being disposed through the proper sewerage infrastructures in violation of environmental law, rules, and regulations;
- Only 14 out of 51 establishments near the shores of Boracay Island are compliant with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004;
- Dirty water results in the degradation of the coral reefs and coral cover of Boracay Island, which declined by approximately 70.5% from 1988 to 2011, with the highest decrease taking place between 2008 and 2011 during a period of increased tourist arrivals (approximately 38.4%);
- Solid waste within Boracay Island is at a generation rate of 90 to 115 tons per day, while the hauling capacity of the local government is only 30 tons per day, hence leaving approximately 85 tons of waste in the Island daily;
- The natural habitats of Puka shells, nesting grounds of marine turtles, and roosting grounds of flying foxes or fruit bats have been damaged and/or destroyed; and
- Only four (4) out of nine (9) wetlands in Boracay Island remain due to illegal encroachment of structures, including 937 identified illegal structures constructed on forestlands and wetlands, as well as 102 illegal structures constructed on areas already classified as easements, and the disappearance of the wetlands, which act as natural catchments, enhances flooding in the area.
Duterte said he declared “the temporary closure of the Island as a tourist destination for six (6) months starting 26 April 2018, or until 25 October 2018… subject to applicable laws, rides, regulations and jurisprudence.”
The President had earlier tagged Boracay as a “cesspool.” /je
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