Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Duterte to Close Down Boracay if Not Cleaned Within 6 Months

Wazzup Pilipinas!

“Boracay is a cesspool!"

"You go into the water, it's smelly. Smell of what? S***"

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte orders Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to clean up Boracay in 6 months. Otherwise, he threathens to close it down.

"It’s destroying the environment or the Republic of the Philippines and creating a disaster coming."

The President threatens to also file a case vs. Boracay officials for the neglect.

Perhaps beleaguered Boracay can learn from what Pattaya, Thailand is doing (link: joint, periodic clean-ups among establishments, businesses and residents based there.

Beyond the need for periodic cleanups, I think Boracay must consider an outright building moratorium. In the 20 years that I've visited Boracay several times since 1998, the buildup everywhere has been crazy. It has gradually created a concrete jungle in many parts of the island.

Boracay residents welcome the cleanup but lament the ‘cesspool’ tag. Many of us love Boracay. We’ve been there a lot of times and we can say that the island has changed over time. We agree that it needs to breathe. The island needs rehabilitation.

But that’s not enough reason to call it shit. You know where the real shit is?

“To close the island would be an easy way out and too much to bear for the residents who depend on the island’s tourism for their livelihood,” Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI) said.

BFI President Nanette Graf says that theres a need to increase fees as tourists are causing environmental problems.

The best solution is to strictly implement existing environmental laws and close all erring establishments. To close the island would be an easy way out and too much to bear for residents who depend on tourism for livelihood. 

"We started the development of Boracay Island 30 years ago in the late 1980s under Secretary Jose Antonio  Gonzalez. I was the Chairman of the Task. Force Boracay, an inter-agency office composed of the three tourism agencies of DoT, PTA (now TIEZA) an the PCVC. During our time, Boracay was being handled at the highest levels of the national government.

"The problem of Boracay started when the functions of the national government like tourism, health and education were devolved to the LGUs per the Local Government Code of 1991 authored by then Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. From the highest levels of national government. the administration of Boracay Island went to the 5th class municipality of Malay in the early 1990s that neither had the capability nor the political will to do what was needed.

We prepared the plan for a sewerage system to collect the sewage and a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). However, it would take around 20 years before the sewerage system and the STP were installed. In spite of these basic environmental infrastructure in place, what happened was connection from business establishments to the sewerage system was NOT made mandatory. I am not up to date on the current situation if it has been rectified already.

The other problem of Boracay is Flooding which happened some months ago late last year 2017. There is apparently some design flaw withe the drainage system that caused the flooding. Other than the design flaw, the other problem is that the natural waterways of the island has been blocked already with backfill of earth. This has to be rectified. The flooding problem is similar to what to Magallanes Village in Makati. Th estero (creek) outside the perimeter wall in Pasay has filled with garbage and/or earth." says Rick Ramos, Chairman of the Task Force Boracay, an inter-agency office composed of the three tourism agencies of DoT, PTA (now TIEZA) an the PCVC, during the 80s. During his time, Boracay was being handled at the highest levels of the national government.

The last time I was in Boracay, I had to go to the other side of the island to get a decent clean swim in water that didn't have algae. And I did see sewage pipes from hotels that directly dumped waste into the beaches water. It would be a great waste if Boracay's stewards of tourism -- the businesses and city government -- don't clean up their act literally.

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