By Charina Clarisse Echaluce
“We need collective effort to save Boracay.”
This was noted by a tourism official today, after President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will close down Boracay if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will not be able to resolve the environmental violations in the said popular tourist destination.
“What’s important at this point is our collective effort to save Boracay,” Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre said in a text message sent to Manila Bulletin.
Duterte made the statement following reports that 11 of the 180 establishments inventoried by the DENR have unconnected sewerage system and their waste materials go directly to the drainage canal.
Right now, Alegre disclosed, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is waiting for the results of the investigation being done to determine if who among the officials gave the establishments a permit to operate.
“The President has been presented information from DENR and DOT on the many problems of Boracay. The President has given DENR Secretary [Roy] Cimatu and DILG Secretary [Eduardo] Año six months to fix all Boracay issues. Among them are going after establishments that violated the islands laws and investigation of officials involved in giving these establishments permit to operate. We are eagerly awaiting the results of this investigation,” he stated.
In October 2017, Cimatu proposed the creation of a national body to manage the beach island instead of leaving its management to the local government.
Earlier this week, Cimatu said that Duterte has “approved in principle” an Executive Order (EO) that would help address the problems in Boracay Island during their Cabinet meeting.
Under the EO, the Environment Secretary will chair a task force which will be composed of other concerned government agencies like the departments of Tourism, and of the Interior and Local Government.
Tags: Boracay, DENR Secretary Cimatu, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), DILG Secretary Año, Manila Bulletin, President Rodrigo Duterte, six months to fix all Boracay issues, Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre