Ak­lan gov: We can man­age Bo­ra­cay

Of­fi­cial re­sists move of DENR to strip LGU of power to run re­sort-is­land

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - —STORY BY NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.

ILOILO CITY— Ak­lan Gov. Floren­cio Mi­raflo­res has op­posed a pro­posal to re­move the man­age­ment of Bo­ra­cay Is­land from lo­cal gov­ern­ments, say­ing part­ner­ship with the na­tional gov­ern­ment would help reg­u­late the devel­op­ment of the is­land. “What is needed is col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween na­tional gov­ern­ment agen­cies and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment,” he said.

ILOILO CITY— Ak­lan Gov. Floren­cio Mi­raflo­res has op­posed a pro­posal of En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu to re­move the man­age­ment of Bo­ra­cay Is­land from lo­cal gov­ern­ments, say­ing part­ner­ship with na­tional gov­ern­ment agen­cies would help in reg­u­lat­ing devel­op­ment in the coun­try’s top tourist des­ti­na­tion.

“What is needed is col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween na­tional gov­ern­ment agen­cies and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment,” Mi­raflo­res told the In­quirer.

Mi­raflo­res, also a for­mer rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Ak­lan, said lo­cal gov­ern­ments were ca­pa­ble of man­ag­ing Bo­ra­cay but they lacked ad­e­quate sup­port from na­tional agen­cies.

In the ses­sion of the Com­mis­sion on Ap­point­ments where Ci­matu’s ap­point­ment as sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) was con­firmed last week, Sen. Franklin Drilon asked the sec­re­tary on how he planned to ad­dress the en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems of Bo­ra­cay.

Best op­tion for Bo­ra­cay

Ci­matu pro­posed the es­tab­lish­ment of a na­tional body to man­age the 1,032-hectare is­land in Malay town in Ak­lan.

“The (lo­cal gov­ern­ments) ... they can­not man­age it,” he said in the ses­sion, adding that the DENR could pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port.

Ci­matu said the cre­ation of a body to man­age the re­sort-is­land was the “best op­tion for Bo­ra­cay at this time.”

Drilon asked Ci­matu to sub­mit his plans and rec­om­men­da­tions to a pro­posed bill on the na­tional body to man­age Bo­ra­cay, but noted that the pro­posal was not a “sure­fire rem­edy.”

A pro­posal to cre­ate a Bo­ra­cay Devel­op­ment Author­ity not headed by elected of­fi­cials and sim­i­lar to the Su­bic Bay Metropoli­tan Author­ity was also pushed in pre­vi­ous years amid the fail­ure to re­solve en­vi­ron­men­tal and other prob­lems plagu­ing the is­land.

These prob­lems in­clude flood­ing, loss of for­est lands and wet­lands due to overde­vel­op­ment and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing wa­ter con­di­tion, es­pe­cially along Bu­la­bog beach.

In re­cent years, res­i­dents and tourists have also been com­plain­ing of traf­fic con­ges­tion as more ve­hi­cles tra­verse the nar­row roads on the is­land.

Res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers on the is­land have re­peat­edly com­plained over the fail­ure of the gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment and en­force laws and reg­u­la­tions that re­sults in prob­lems aris­ing from un­reg­u­lated devel­op­ment.

Bo­ra­cay is com­posed of the vil­lages of Bal­abag, ManocManoc and Ya­pak.

Tourist ar­rivals in Bo­ra­cay reached 1,725,483 in 2016, 11 per­cent higher than the 1,560,106 tourists recorded in 2015, ac­cord­ing to data from the Malay tourism of­fice and the Depart­ment of Tourism in Bo­ra­cay.

Tourism- re­lated rev­enues reached P43.95 bil­lion in 2015.

Na­tional Editor PERGENTINO B. BANDAYREL JR.

—MARKALVIC ESPLANA

Tourists en­joy Bo­ra­cay Is­land’s sun­set.

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