Boracay rehab efforts to continue even after reopening, says Cimatu

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has assured the rehabilitation efforts in Boracay will continue even after tourism-related activities on the world-famous resort island have resumed.

Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will conduct continuous water quality monitoring to make sure Boracay’s waters remain safe for swimming and other recreational activities.

The DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR) has installed a state-of-the-art monitoring system that provides real-time data on the water quality around the island, he said.

With an effective monitoring system and strict compliance by all commercial establishments to existing environmental laws and regulations, Cimatu said the public can be assured Boracay will no longer be called a “cesspool.”

According to Cimatu, the DENR will continue to monitor the compliance of establishments with the conditions imposed in their respective environmental compliance certificates (ECCs).

Cimatu said the DENR and other government agencies comprising the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) will also continue to process requirements from non-compliant commercial establishments.

“Tuloy-tuloy ang pagtanggap ng gobyerno ng application for compliance ng mga establishment,” he said.

Compliance requirements for establishments include the setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs) or connection to the island’s sewerage system, to make sure only treated wastewater is discharged into the sea.

A day before Boracay’s reopening, the EMB reported that certificates of compliance had already been issued to 717 establishments out of 1,258 in its inventory.

A certificate of compliance allows an establishment to undergo assessment by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and then for accreditation by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

As of October 26, the DOT has allowed 157 hotels and similar establishments to operate, which is equivalent to 7,308 rooms.

The DOT also assured the public that the agency would regularly update its list of accredited establishments, as it continues to implement a “no compliance, no operation” policy on the island.

Meanwhile, Cimatu disclosed that the BIATF is set to recommend chairmanship of the body from the DENR to the DOT, as efforts shift from establishing corrective measures to maintaining laws and regulations for ecotourism sites. ###