President Duterte has approved a 25 billion-peso plan for the full rehabilitation of Boracay Island following its six-month closure last year.
“We likewise announce the approval of the Boracay Medium-Term Action Plan which will sustain the efforts of the government after its closure,” presidential spokesmann Salvador Panelo said in a statement yesterday (Tuesday, July 2).
He said the action plan had four main themes:
- Enforcement of laws where there will be intervention on the regulation of visitors and hotel accommodations
- Prevention where there will be interventions on the sewerage infrastructure, solid and liquid waste management
- Rehabilitation and recovery of ecosystems
- Sustainability of activities on the island such as improvement of roads and public health infrastructure, construction of permanent housing programme for indigenous people and education facilities.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has welcomed the decision.
She said: “The Department of Tourism wholeheartedly welcomes President Duterte’s approval of the Boracay Action Plan to complete the island’s rehabilitation and continue its sustainable tourism development programme.
“By essentially institutionalising the functions of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force with the approval of the action plan, we can clearly see the government’s determination to sustain the gains of the initial six-month rehabilitation.”
President Duterte ordered the temporary closure of Boracay in April 2018 after describing the white-sand resort island as a “cesspool” due to environmental problems brought about by a mismanaged sewerage system and over-development.
The tourist island — often voted among the best in the world — reopened its doors on October 26 after being given the go-signal by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force to accept visitors.
Since then, strict new laws have been put in place to prevent future environmental degradation. However, many visitors have reported that little of substance has changed, particularly with increasing numbers of tourists from China and Korea.
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