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Gov’t allocates P 150 M to Boracay rehabilitation

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By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has allocated P150 million to sustain the rehabilitation works in Boracay Island and prevent its further environmental decay next year.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Congress on Monday. Photo by Jansen Romero

President Rodrigo Duterte (Jansen Romero/Manila Bulletin)

The budget allocation for Boracay is included in the P25.1-billion budget allocated for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) next year.

“Some P150 million will be used to rehabilitate Boracay Island, to cover the requirements for various activities such as the continuing research and monitoring of air and water quality in the said area to prevent further degradation of the ecosystem as well as for solid waste management,” President Duterte said in a budget message to Congress.

In setting the budget for the DENR, the President acknowledged that a healthy environment was crucial to the improvement and upgrading of living conditions.

He also said the government must ensure the poor are protected from pollution and risks as a result of environmental degradation. He noted that rich people were better able to avoid the costs of environmental harm “because they have the money or wealthy to pay for these.”

The President earlier authorized the six-month shutdown of Boracay to tourists to address sewage problems and other pollution woes. The island closure is expected to be lifted this October.

Duterte, in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), admitted that Boracay has sadly become the representation of the government’s negligence. He defended the closure of the popular tourist destination, saying he could not allow the decay to continue.

In promoting a healthy environment, the President said the DENR budget will also include P5.2 billion for the National Greening Program to plant trees, produce seedlings, and maintain forest lands.

To address the effects of climate change, he said P1.9 billion would be used for the Integrity of the Environment and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation on solid waste, air quality, water quality, and hazardous waste management of the DENR and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission will also receive P328 million to rehabilitate and develop the river’s “esteros” and creeks.

The President earlier submitted the proposed 2019 budget to Congress for its approval. The budget aims to fund infrastructure buildup, health, education, and social protection measures next year.

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