PRESS STATEMENT OF SECRETARY ROY A. CIMATU RE: ESTABLISHMENT OF CRITICAL HABITAT IN BORACAY ISLAND

The world-famous Boracay Island forms part of the country’s rich biodiversity.

Just recently, the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the DENR sent a team of experts to conduct a Biodiversity Assessment in Boracay from February 28-March 2, 2018 as part of the action planning process to save the pollution-challenged island.

The team found substantial biodiversity presence even with degraded forests and wetlands. A colony of flying foxes, marine turtles, emergent reef communities, and a number of endemic flora and birds still exist on the island.

Human disturbance, aggressive infrastructure development and unregulated tourism have resulted to habitat destruction of the island’s diverse wildlife. We will not allow further degradation of these ecosystems and species. Boracay is dependent on its biodiversity for water, soil stabilization, food, and as tourist attraction.

We shall establish the Boracay Island Critical Habitat to protect and conserve the forests and coastal marine areas located in barangays Balabag and Yapak, which serve as habitat of colonies of the flying foxes, the nesting grounds of marine turtles, and the nascent corals sprouting in the reef.

The establishment of a critical habitat is the DENR’s concrete commitment to bringing back Boracay’s robust ecology. It shall provide a platform for a community driven ecosystem management approach that guarantees the collective participation of local government units, business sector, people’s organizations, private land owners, thereby integrating biodiversity conservation as part of the island’s development planning process, and way of life of the people.

This undertaking may entail an arduous process. But we are compelled to ensure it will be done, under my watch, and hopefully with your cooperation and support. ###