By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
Partying, grilling and other beach activities are still allowed in Boracay provided these are done indoors or in areas not in the beachfront, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
DENR Undersecretaries Sherwin Rigor and Benny Antiporda clarified that some prohibitions for the reopening of the world-famous resort island will be imposed only in beachfront areas.
Rigor said prohibited activities and structures were meant to protect the shore and maintain the pristine quality of the sand, which is Boracay’s top selling feature.
Among those prohibited are the construction of stage platform for entertainment purposes and setting up of tables, chairs, massage beds, beach umbrellas, souvenir shops and food stalls.
Electrical fixtures, such as lightings and wirings, will also be removed and prohibited from the beachfront vegetation area.
“These structures will be banned at all times within the 25+5 easement area, which is a ‘no-build zone’, and within the beach vegetation area,” Rigor said.
These prohibitions, he said, would apply to White Beach Stations 1, 2 and 3, as well as Puka, Ilig-Iligan, and Bulabog beaches.
Meanwhile, Antiporda disputed an item in an infographic called “New Boracay Dos and Don’ts” circulating online, which states that grilling of meats would be prohibited.
“This is not true. The task force does not prohibit such,” Antiporda said, referring to the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force headed by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
“Grilling is still allowed, but not in the beachfront,” he added.
The task force is also looking into setting up designated zones where ambulant vendors can sell their goods instead of approaching and possibly disturbing tourists.
Another measure that has been proposed is the banning of parties at the beachfront and within the easement area without valid permits for the holding of special events.
To avoid noise pollution, Rigor said commercial establishments like bars and restaurants will also be encouraged to adopt noise or music insulation systems.
The DENR official added that part of the rehabilitation of the beach ecosystem was to require establishments to obtain permits to plant balled coconut palms and other endemic species along the beach fronting their respective properties.
Likewise, Antiporda clarified that water sports, paraw-sailing and other related activities are only temporarily suspended while the government, led by the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau, and partner organizations are conducting an assessment of the marine ecosystems in Boracay.
Antiporda said the DENR is expecting the results of the assessment before the opening on October 26.