After conducting inspections in Boracay for the past 2 days, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that they want to make the world-famous island the gold standard for all resorts in the Philippines.
DILG OIC Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that while local and foreign tourists will be welcome again to visit Boracay during the soft reopening on October 26, it will take about two years to complete the island’s rehabilitation.
“There will be a lot of laws and ordinances to be implemented in Boracay under our (DILG) supervision to make sure that there will be no repeat of what happened before,” Año said.
He said that the immediate problems on violations of environmental laws in Boracay have been fixed after the six-month rehabilitation.
A Boracay Interagency Task Force composed of the DILG, Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) was created by the President to carry out measures to save Boracay.
“Boracay is now very fresh and very orderly but of course there are still a lot of things to be done for the next two years,” he said.
The DILG Chief said that administrative cases had been filed against 18 erring local government officials for the mismanagement of the island. Of this number, 17 officials were charged with administrative cases on gross neglect to duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service and one was charged with grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Only compliant firms can do business
Año emphasized during the soft reopening at the end of this month, only business establishments which have operating sewerage treatment plants (STPs) will be allowed to operate.
The Boracay Inter-agency Task Force previously directed all residents and establishments to set up and use said STPs via clustering or separate treatment plants to keep the Boracay seas safe from wastewater.
He added that only those establishments that have been accredited by the Department of Tourism and cleared by the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force as fully compliant to local and environmental laws such as the Environmental Compliance Certificate or Certificate of Non-Coverage are allowed to reopen to local and foreign tourists on October 26.
Likewise, the “no floating structure” ban within 3 kilometers on the shoreline is also still in effect as part of the campaign to protect the beaches of Boracay.
Other resorts to be inspected too
Año said that with Boracay as the national standard, the DILG and other national government agencies will also conduct inspections in all other resorts across the country.
“We will also conduct inspections in all other resorts across the country to ensure that these tourist destinations also comply with the existing environmental laws,” he said.
“Those that will be found negligent and remiss on environmental compliance will not be tolerated and will be made accountable just like what we did to Boracay,” he added.