Cimatu wants ‘all hand on deck’ as DENR prepares to implement ‘first aid’ solutions to Boracay Island

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, as chair of the inter-agency Task Force Boracay, urged all stakeholders to help and participate in the restoration of Boracay as the island is shut down on April 26, 2018.

“We need to rehabilitate Boracay to make it a safe, living, and environmentally sustainable island where people from all walks of life can enjoy the benefits its beauty can bring,” Cimatu said.

“For that to happen we will need ‘all hands on deck’ - government employees, business owners, workers, residents, and of course, the tourists - local and foreign, who have made Boracay a byword in the tourism world.”

The Secretary said the DENR’s rehabilitation efforts in Boracay during the six-month closure period will be focused on five key areas: drainage and sewerage rehabilitation; solid waste management; forestlands and easement recovery and alienable and disposable land management; road and transport (which includes air quality management); and biodiversity conservation, wetlands rehabilitation, and geological hazard management.

“Within this period we intend, as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed, to put in place what we might call a ‘first aid’ solution to Boracay’s woes. We will put its sewage and solid waste systems in place. We will demolish illegal structures - big or small - in the foreshore and protected areas, in the wetlands and forest lands, and even within the road easements,” Cimatu said.

“We intend to review the road and transport network, including the use of the jetty ports, motor vehicles and other means of transport to make these conform to the most desirable means to transport people and goods within a small 1,078-hectare island,” he added.

The DENR will also revisit the Boracay Master Plan to integrate it with the more comprehensive Northern Aklan Master Plan, which is seen to boost tourism in areas near Boracay such as Malay, Caticlan, Carabao Island, and the entire Aklan province.

President Duterte earlier called for the closure of Boracay Island so that the DENR and the inter-agency team tasked with restoring the island can focus on their work.

Cimatu vowed to deliver a ‘new Boracay’and work towards the sustainability of the island even after the six-month closure period has expired.

“Let me reiterate: Government will not and should not do the ‘clean-up’ alone. Yes, we will ensure that the governance rules and regulations will be in accordance with law and at par with the standards of world class tourist destinations. We will provide adequate security and fast, reliable and, friendly government services. But we need your help to ensure that Boracay remains at its best now and in the future,” he said. ###