New gov’t body to oversee Boracay Island proposed

first_imgThis rock formation, popularly known as “Willy’s Rock”, is a famous landmark in Boracay Island, and probably the most photographed. This rocky outcrop forms a tidal island with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the steps carved into the rock. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN It will also help ensure that the island will continue to exist with a functioning ecosystem under a workable plan for sustainable development. BIATF was created on May 8, 2018 by President Rodrigo Duterte through Executive Order (EO) No. 53 with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy Cimatu as chairperson, with Local Government secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as co-chairpersons. BIDA’s function would be to promote growth in Boracay for sustainable development, maintain its ecological balance, and protect and enhance the quality of the island’s environment. Another “closure” early this year was effected due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We will continue the unfinished projects with plans already set for the island. The construction of the drainage along the circumferential road shall be continued. The beach and road easement as well as illegal buildings built in forestlands will be addressed by the BIATF this year and to continue with the rehabilitation of the world class destination,” said Cimatu who visited the Boracay Island together with Año and Puyat on June 11. BIDA will operate, administer short- and long-term plans, and manage the rehabilitation and development of Boracay Island; regulate the issuance of permits; order the suspension or cessation of operations of establishments; and address other concerns that are detrimental to Boracay Island. In Executive Order No. 115 recently released, Duterte extended BIATF until May 2021 to allow the completion of critical projects adopted from the Boracay Action Plan based on its four thematic areas, namely: enforcement of laws and regulations, pollution control and prevention, rehabilitation and recovery of the ecosystem, and sustainability of island activities.center_img Boracay Island reopened to local tourists from Western Visayas on June 16. The DENR continue to closely monitor its water quality. KALIBO, Aklan – The Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF) has endorsed the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) and already has a draft bill before Congress. “I am glad for the reopening of Boracay Island, the crown jewel of the Philippines tourism industry. The pristine powdery white sand beach will continue as we hope to implement sustainable development through the creation of BIDA,” said DENR Region 6 executive director Francisco Milla Jr. He encouraged all tourists to observe physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and wearing of facemasks. The world-class tourist destination was shut down for six months in 2018 (April to October) by the President for a massive rehabilitation. “Let us keep the island clean and free from the coronavirus,” said Milla. (DENR-6/PN)last_img read more