DENR firming up Boracay environmental protection
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will strictly enforce environmental rules and guidelines as the dry run for the reopening of famed Boracay Island gets underway on Monday.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the guidelines will ensure the protection of the world-renowned resort island from unsustainable tourism practices during its dry run or partial reopening from October 15 to 25.
The guidelines include a regulation on tourist arrivals and number of persons allowed to stay in the island, based on its pre-determined carrying capacity.
Island test Cimatu, who heads the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), said the 11-day dry run would allow government to test all systems and improvements carried out during the island’s initial six–month rehabilitation process.
He appealed for cooperation and understanding from all stakeholders and local tourists.
“We will be monitoring a lot of things, from managing the entrance and exit points, and stay of the tourists, to enforcing rule of law on establishments that have been found to be non-compliant to laws and regulations,” Cimatu said.
Comply, or else… He pointed out that the government would strictly enforce the “no compliance, no operation” policy for establishments not only during the dry run but beyond Boracay’s formal reopening on October 26.
“We will not hesitate to close hotels and other establishments that would operate without clearance from the BIATF,” Cimatu said.
He also warned tourists who are planning to visit the island to make sure they book their accommodations with compliant hotels and similar establishments, a complete list of which will be released by the Department of Tourism.
DENR is deploying at least 30 environmental enforcers to check on Boracay’s water quality, solid waste management, drainage and sewage systems, and occupation of forest areas and wetlands.
AFP, PNP support The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have also committed to help maintain peace and order on the island during the dry run leading to the October 26 reopening.
“We are trying to correct the mistakes of the past, and we have succeeded in finding a solution to cleaning the environment. We do not want to backslide on what we have started,” Cimatu said.
Traffic scheme During the dry run, the BIATF will be implementing a traffic scheme amid ongoing road works on the island.
It includes ferrying visitors directly to the Tambisaan port or pontoons set up at different boat stations, and impounding private and public vehicles operating without a valid permit.