Only 67 Boracay hotels meet environmental standards as reopening looms

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Boracay

Just weeks away from the island’s reopening, only 67 Boracay establishments have so far complied with various environmental laws. 

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Sophie Manuel, Regional Director of the Environmental Management Bureau, made the admission during a meeting on the island today (Friday, October 5).

She said they were still processing the applications of 353 other establishments. “We are hoping to finish the evaluation soon so they would be considered compliant,” she added.

So far, more than 1,200 establishments have been checked for compliance with regulations under the Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Hazardous Waste Law; Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Presidential Decree 1,586, or the establishment of environmental impact system.

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Manuel said other establishments may have not yet submitted their applications because they were still putting up their sewage treatment plants, which is a requirement imposed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Under this, establishments with 50 rooms or more are required to have their own plants while those with fewer rooms must have access to shared facilities.

As well as this, establishments should also have a mayor’s permit, barangay clearance, Bureau of Internal Revenue annual registration, clearance certificate from the Social Security System, occupancy permit, garbage fee, sanitary permit, real property tax clearance and building permit.

The Department of Tourism aims to have 5,000 rooms ready for operation when the island opens on October 26. 

Meanwhile, beach vendors have protested after being told they will not be allowed to operate along the seafront.

The workers, represented by the Malay Boracay Vendors, Peddlers, Masseurs, Manicurists Association, are urging a change of heart on the ruling. 

Adelfa Cuesta, a former president of the association, which represents more than 300 vendors, said: “We want to know where will the government transfer us. We need to know so we can prepare.

“This is all that’s left for us. This is our livelihood. It was an extremely difficult time for poor people like us to be in this critical condition for almost five months. We do not have any other source of income. We know you will not let us down.”

Under plans for the newly renovated Boracay, all beach tables, chairs, beds and other furniture, such as umbrellas, will also be banned from the famous white-sand beach.

We have recently reported on other restrictions planned for the island, including bans on water sports, drinking on the beach and smoking.

Visitors will also have to pre-register their visits, with a strict cap placed on numbers of arrivals.

The island was completely closed to visitors for ‘environmental rehabilitation’ in April after President Duterte branded it a “cesspool”.

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