DENR firm­ing up Bo­ra­cay en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion

Manila Bulletin - - News - By ELLALYN DE VERA-RUIZ

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.

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