By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has approved the multibillion-peso medium-term action plan to sustain the rehabilitation efforts of Boracay in a bid to promote a sustainable tourism destination.
Under the Boracay Medium-Term Action Plan, the government intends to regulate visitors and hotel accommodations, as well as improve the sewerage system, roads and other infrastructure in the island, according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
The blueprint for the Boracay recovery efforts was discussed during the Cabinet meeting convened by President Duterte in Malacañang last Monday.
“We likewise announce the approval of the Boracay Medium-Term Action Plan which will sustain the efforts of the government after its closure,” Panelo said.
“According to National Economic and Development Authority Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Usec. Adoracion Navarro, there are four themes of the action plan: 1) Enforcement of laws where there will be intervention on the regulation of visitors and hotel accommodations; 2) Prevention where there will be interventions on the sewerage infrastructure, solid and liquid waste management,” he said.
The action plan for Boracay recovery also includes “rehabilitation and recovery of ecosystems and sustainability of activities in the island such as improvement of roads and public health infrastructure, construction of permanent housing program for indigenous people and education facilities,” Panelo said.
NEDA earlier said the Boracay action plan, which will be implemented until 2022, would require an estimated investment of P25.27-billion. The private sector would be tapped to finance P15.89 billion of the total cost of the Boracay action plan, it added.
In April 2018, the government shut down Boracay to tourists for six months to pave the way for massive rehabilitation, including upgrading its sewage system. The temporary closure was ordered by the President who claimed the island has become a cesspool.
Boracay was eventually reopened to tourists with clear waters last October.
After the massive rehabilitation of Boracay, the government moved to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay area and launched a crackdown on its pollutants. A government task force also moved to conduct a massive clean-up drive and rehabilitation of El Nido, Palawan and Panglao Island, Bohol amid reports of environmental issues similar to Boracay.