Shoreline of Boracay City
MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Environment and National Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR–BMB) has identified more than 100 hectares of forest lands and 600 hectares of coastal marine areas in Barangay Yapak and Balabag, Malay, Aklan in the island of Boracay.
The agency wants to declare it a critical habitat area.
There are several species there that the DENR wants to protect and preserve.
The agency said that in 1988, there were 15,000 large and golden-crowned flying foxes on the island but today their number has gone down to 2,000.
There are also nesting grounds of marine turtles in the island as well as cave crabs, sea snakes, different kinds of bats and plants and live corals in the sea.
They also want to limit the activity and number of tourists in the identified critical habitat areas.
“May areas na pwede i-open for minimum activities halimbawa, pwedeng may scuba diving pero dapat ang may certification lang ang magda-dive. Hindi ka pwede mag practice ng diving,” said DENR-BMB Director Theresa Mundita Lim.
(There are areas that can be opened only for minimum activities, for instance they can conduct scuba diving but only for who are certified divers, practice diving will not be allowed.)
The DENR meet stakeholders to ask their full cooperation.
“The establishment of a critical habitat is the DENR’s concrete commitment to bringing back Boracay’s robust ecology,” said DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu.
“We fully support the program of the government,” said Peter Montalban of Boracay Property Holdings.
“This is really a welcoming activity for us,” said Patrice Vitan of Seven Seas.
The DENR will formally release the administrative order on the declaration of critical habitat next week.
This will be effective after the six-month closure of Boracay Island.
All establishments, residents, and tourists who will be found violating the rules in critical habitat areas will be penalized. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue