DENR wants full force of law vs Boracay litterbugs

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is aghast over the trash found on Boracay’s beachfront during the first day of the reopening dry run that it wants the full force of the law applied against litterbugs.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny Antiporda said that adopting a “zero tolerance policy” against litterbugs is the best way to prevent littering problems on the island.

He said that being compliant means "nagmamahal kayo sa ating kalikasan, at yun ang gusto namin palakasin."

The DENR official issued the statement after meeting with Compliant Association of Boracay (CAB), a newly established group whose members include owners of hotels, resorts, retail shops and restaurants.

Antiporda also announced that the DENR and other government agencies in charge of Boracay’s rehabilitation are amenable to CAB’s proposal to designate its pollution officers as “marshals” so they can have authority to go after litterbugs.

"We will talk with the local police so that you can do your obligation to your country to protect the environment," Antiporda told CAB members during the meeting.

He also enjoined them to use their social media accounts to come up with a joint statement to remind people to be responsible.

The DENR, he said, is also encouraging citizen’s arrest for litterbugs.

The CAB had earlier written DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu requesting that their pollution officers be deputized as “Boracay marshals” to police public areas on the island.

As marshals, the CAB said their pollution officers would be on the lookout for litterers and “shall remind the public to dispose of the trash properly.”

It added that “should the erring public refuse to cooperate, the marshalls may be the personal details of the individual(s) and endorse to policing agencies in Boracay.”

Antiporda reminded the public that under the Anti-Littering Law, littering is a criminal offense and violators could face a fine or render community service from eight to 16 hours.

He noted that under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, establishments are required to designate a pollution control officer who shall ensure compliance with the law, among others.

Photos of discarded trash along Boracay’s famous White Beach went viral on social media recently. They were taken just hours after Boracay was opened to local tourists for the 11-day dry run for Boracay’s soft opening slated for October 26, 2018. ### 

Cimatu: Much achieved, but more needs to be done to rehabilitate Boracay

Despite visible improvements, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said a lot more needs to be done to completely rehabilitate and ensure the sustainability of the world-famous Boracay Island.

Cimatu said that while the resort island is “no longer a cesspool,” there is no reason for government and other stakeholders to be complacent.

“This is not the time for us to relax and lower our guards,” Cimatu said on the first day of the 11-day dry run for the much-awaited reopening of Boracay later this month.

“While much has been gained already, still a lot remains to be done and we still ask for your extended patience, support and understanding,” he added.

Cimatu, who heads the inter-agency task force in charge of Boracay’s rehabilitation, cited the ongoing road and drainage improvement projects, which were delayed due to successive typhoons.

“We lost about 30 to 40 days of work but we will be able to compensate for this and finish the drainage system,” Cimatu explained.

The environment chief said that all projects will continue even after Boracay’s soft opening slated for October 26.

“Rehabilitation will continue after October 26. We are just in Phase 1,” he stressed.

Cimatu led other officials of government agencies involved in the rehabilitation of Boracay in welcoming Aklanons who were the first guests in the newly- rehabilitated island which he described as a “better Boracay”.

Boracay, he said, was no longer a cesspool and tourists can once again enjoy its pristine waters.

He gladly announced that Boracay waters are already fit for swimming based on the standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“We offer to you now a better Boracay,” Cimatu said. “Boracay beaches are now a sight to behold and the entire island will even be grander in the near future.”

Famous for its powdery white sand, pristine blue waters and amazing sunsets, Boracay has been named several times as one of the best beaches in the world.

But on April 26, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation No. 475 ordering the closure of Boracay to tourists for six months to pave the way for its rehabilitation from environmental damage caused by overdevelopment. ### 

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