DENR sees new Boracay after 6-month closure, cleanup
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Saturday vowed to deliver a “new Boracay” once the government completed its rehabilitation of the island which began on April 26.
But, Cimatu said, the government needed the support of all sectors for the cleanup of the popular tourist island to be successful.
“Let me reiterate — the government will not and should not do the cleanup alone. (We) need your help to ensure that Boracay remains at its best now and in the future,” he said in a statement.
For that to happen, all hands, including those of government employees, business owners, workers, residents and even local and foreign tourists, must be on deck.
Over the next six months, Cimatu said the government could implement only band-aid solutions to Boracay’s growing environmental problem which prompted President Duterte to call it a “cesspool” and order its closure.
The President also issued Proclamation No. 475 declaring a state of calamity in the island villages of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag and Yapak in the municipality of Malay, Aklan.
“We will put its sewage and solid waste systems in place. We will demolish illegal structures — big or small — in the foreshore and protected areas, in the wetlands and forest lands, and even within the road easements,” Cimatu said.
At the same time, Cimatu said, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will also look at rehabilitating drainage and sewage, solid waste management and recovery of forest lands and easement zones.
More to be done
“We need to rehabilitate Boracay to make it a safe, living and environmentally sustainable island where people from all walks of life can enjoy the benefits its beauty can bring,” Cimatu said.
The agency will also address management of alienable and disposable lands, improve air quality by fixing roads and transportation within the island, conserve biodiversity, rehabilitate the wetlands and manage geological hazards.
“We intend to review the road and transport network, including the use of the jetty ports, motor vehicles and other means of transport to make these conform to the most desirable means to transport people and goods within a small 1,078-hectare island,” he added.
The DENR chief said the Boracay interagency task force, which he heads, would also revisit the island’s master plan to integrate it with the more-comprehensive Northern
Aklan Development Plan.
This will boost tourism in areas near and around Boracay island, such as Malay town, Caticlan, Carabao Island and the entire Aklan province, Cimatu said.
“(The government) will ensure that the governance rules and regulations will be in accordance with law and at par with the standards of world class tourist destinations,” he said.
“We will provide adequate security and fast, reliable and friendly government services,” Cimatu added.
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