Draft EO on Bo­ra­cay's woes to be sub­mit­ted to PRRD: Teo, Ci­matu

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - News Plus -

BO­RA­CAY, Ak­lan -Tourism Sec­re­tary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and En­vi­ron­ment chief Roy Ci­matu on Tues­day dis­closed that a draft Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der (EO) on the cre­ation of a task force on Bo­ra­cay would be sub­mit­ted to President Ro­drigo Duterte “to ad­dress once and for all” the se­ri­ous prob­lems be­set­ting the pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion.

The Depart­ment of Tourism (DOT) and the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) have partnered in con­duct­ing an ocu­lar in­spec­tion on the is­land, which is fast los­ing the bal­ance be­tween en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and tourism de­vel­op­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the two of­fi­cials, is­sues of conges­tion, wa­ter pol­lu­tion, and overde­vel­op­ment have be­come alarm­ing. To ad­dress this, they agreed on the cre­ation of atask force to over­see all is­sues Bo­ra­cay is fac­ing.

On pol­lu­tion, the two said that a drainage project should be done in bulk rather than hav­ing it im­ple­mented in stages.

Ac­cord­ing to the DOT, there are at least two mil­lion in­ter­na­tional tourists flocking the is­land an­nu­ally. In ad­di­tion, the 10.32-squarek­ilo­me­ter is­land par­adise has an ag­gre­gate pop­u­la­tion of 34,000 from three barangays, namely, Ya­pak, Bu­la­bog, and Manok-Manok, be­long­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Malay, Ak­lan.

Teo has blamed the lack of proper sew­er­age sys­tem, as well as a num­ber of busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments that tapped and dis­pose of their waste through the rain­wa­ter drainage sys­tem all the way to the sea.

Teo said with joint cooper-- ation among DOT, DENR, and the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment of Malay, Ci­matu would soon re­lay what they had dis­cussed to President Duterte.

“Ci­matu will present to the President in the next cou­ple of meet­ings,” she said.

Fol­low­ing the aerial sur­vey, the two depart­ment heads presided a multi-sec­toral meet­ing with Bo­ra­cay’s tourism stake­hold­ers.

One ma­jor prob­lem that prompted the meet­ing was the alarm­ing re­cur­rence of flood­ing in most parts of the Bo­ra­cay tourist hub, par­tic­u­larly the flash flood­ing that oc­curred dur­ing typhoon Ur­duja last De­cem­ber 18.

Ci­matu dis­closed he had called the at­ten­tion of Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawal­ing re­gard­ing the wors­en­ing garbage prob­lem. Along with Cawal­ing, Ak­lan Gov­er­nor Floren­cio Mi­raflo­res raised the need for more fund­ings.

“We ap­peal to both Sec­re­taries to adopt Bo­ra­cay,” Mi­raflo­res urged the Cabi­net of­fi­cials.

Tourism In­fra­struc­ture and En­ter­prise Author­ity (TIEZA) for its part pledged to pour in PHP400 mil­lion more on Bo­ra­cay’s on­go­ing drainage project, val­ued at PHP716 mil­lion. As per DOT, its Phase II is aimed at al­le­vi­at­ing heavy flood­ing in the area. ‘Very en­cour­ag­ing’ In an in­ter­view with re­porters, Mi­raflo­res said the in­spec­tion had brought a “very en­cour­ag­ing” de­vel­op­ment to their de­sire and ef­forts to pre­serve the beauty of Bo­ra­cay is­land.

“We will now be amend­ing the pre­vi­ous me­moran­dum cir­cu­lar that cre­ated a body that will ad­dress one spe­cific is­sue in the past, the 25+5 on the ease­ment,” he said.

The move is ex­pected to add other agen­cies in the pic­ture.

As per the gov­er­nor, hav­ing a con­sol­i­dated body to cover all prob­lems in Bo­ra­cay, such as land is­sues, an over­whelm­ing num­ber of in­fra­struc­ture, conges­tion, and off­shore pol­lu­tion is one step closer to a vi­able so­lu­tion.

“With the com­mit­ment of the two Sec­re­taries to re­solve these is­sues once and for all, we’re very happy with the out­come of the meet­ing,” Mi­raflo­res said. (PNA)

President Ro­drigo Roa Duterte shares a light mo­ment with Am­bas­sador-Des­ig­nate of Malta to the Philip­pines John Aquilina as the President gives a to­ken af­ter the lat­ter pre­sented his cre­den­tials to the President at the Mala­cañan Palace on Jan­uary 9, 2018. (Pres­i­den­tial Photo)

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