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Gov’t officials meet on new master plan for Boracay

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By Analou De Vera

Government officials today, March 15, will be meeting with urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. to discuss the new master plan intended for the rehabilitation of the world-famous Boracay island, a Department of Tourism (DOT) official said.

Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre on a television interview on Tuesday, said that the Boracay inter-agency task force “will take a look at the new updated master plan” that will be presented by architect Palafox.

“We have to look at the new Boracay already at this point. We already know the problem… the extent of the problem. The President has already described it for us and we have seen it for the past three months that we have been going there,” said Alegre.

The inter-agency committee, who will attend the meeting, is composed of DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año. The committee now also includes Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, said Alegre.

Alegre said that the “new” Boracay will have “features that would be at par with global standards already.” This includes pedestrian lanes, bike lanes, and two way streets for tourists and small vehicles.

Alegre also said that they are now finalizing the proposal of declaring a state of calamity in the island either before or after the Holy Week. “But let’s be clear about that, it’s not a state of calamity because there’s a storm. There is a provision were a calamity is human induced… in this case,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alegre said that the proposed 60-day shutdown is being eyed from June to September.

“The suggestion is… can we do it during the lean season which is June to September… And we have seen the data. It (visits) really goes down between June to September. In fact, it is less foreign tourist during that time,” Alegre said.

However, the tourism official noted that the proposed shutdown period, as well as the six-month declaration of state of calamity, is not enough for the island’s rehabilitation.

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