Inspectors say fewer than one in six Boracay businesses meet standards

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Boracay
A pristine stretch of sand on Island before it was closed in April for environmental rehabilitation.

Fewer than 20 per cent of tourism businesses inspected on Boracay met standards — just two months before the island is due to reopen.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said today (Monday, August 20) that only 71 of the 440 hotels and inns so far inspected were “fully compliant”.

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At a Senate hearing on the rehabilitation of the white-sand island, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said there were at least 2,384 establishments at the resort.

“The 2,384, that is all the establishments, inns, businesses, etc, not including the residential. We break it down to, specifically, hotels, resorts, and inns for the Department of Tourism’s use,” he said.

“Of the resorts, hotels, and inns we inspected it’s about 440, of which 71 of the 440 were fully-compliant with all the permits, licences of the local government and the national government.”

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Asked by Senator Cynthia Villar whether only 30 per cent of establishments opening on October 26 would be acceptable, Densing was optimistic the island would still be operational.

“It’s possible between 30 to 50 per cent, more so if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will release their carrying capacity study, the establishments to be opened may be opened 30 to 40 per cent to accommodate,” he answered.

He also said the public had to take into account that many of the violators they inspected had no building permits or other crucial paperwork.

“Most of these are really the big ones, they don’t have building permits. We are trying to let them fill in those deficiencies, so why should we allow those big establishments continue to operate? Although this is beyond the issue of wastewater, it’s an issue of governance,” he said.

Densing said everyone is responsible with what happened to the island. “This is everyone’s fault,” he said. “That’s why when I’m told to describe Boracay, it’s a failed governance. 

“When we talk about failed governance, it’s not only the failure of the government, it’s the failure of the businessmen, workers, the citizens and the residents of the island. When it closed down, we are gradually working to correct it.”

Previous reports on the rehabilitation work have been more optimistic, suggesting that the work could be completed by next month.

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