Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu answers questions during an inspection in Boracay Island.
A video posted by an anonymous Boracay resident has gone viral for supposedly capturing an ongoing excavation that resulted in the flattening and deforestation of a mountain in Barangay Yapak.
This led residents to question the rehabilitation efforts of the government while some turned to social media to seek explanation for the leveling activities.
Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu issued a statement on Wednesday, May 16, to clarify speculations.
READ: The Press Statement of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on the alleged flattening of a mountain in Boracay
“Facebook posts by netizens regarding the alleged flattening of a mountain near the eco-village multi-purpose gym in Boracay have reached my office.
“Like everyone else, we are also deeply bothered by such acts of total disregard of the government’s effort to rehabilitate Boracay.
“Reports from our field office indicated, however, that said flattening of mountain was conducted prior to the Boracay closure and has since been stopped.
“To be clear to all that we mean business in the enforcement of environmental laws, rules and regulations, I have ordered, with the concurrrence of the Boracay inter-agency task force, a total stoppage of all constructions of any kind effective immediately.
“I have also ordered a moratorium on the issuance of DENR permits, including but not limited to Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), tree cutting permit, except those relating to on-going road widening project by DPWH, and other licenses.
“Certainly, we welcome feedback from the public. Your opinion and suggestions do matter to us.
“We are appealing to each and every one, however, that when you make any report or post anything online, these should be verified first so as not to cause any misunderstanding.”
Boracay rebuilds drainage system with latest technology
High density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipes line the beach of Boracay ready to be installed.
BORACAY, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is using German technology in building the new drainage system of Boracay Island.
Six-meter long high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipes with a width of 1.2 meters will replace one-meter long reinforced concrete pipes that the DPWH traditionally use.
“Ang lifespan niya hundred years… In terms of sa size, doble po ang laki ng pipes na gagamitin namin sa project,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said.
(It has a lifespan of 1oo years. The pipes that we are going to use for the project are twice the size of what was originally used.)
High density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipes will replace the reinforced concrete pipes that were originally used in Boracay’s drainage system.
DPWH is planning to use 800 HDPE pipes for phase 1 of the project. Boracay is among the first to be installed with the said German technology.
Villar is confident that the storm drains they are building will be able to solve the flooding problems on the island especially during rainy season.
“Mabilis po ang installation at siyempre yung quality. Napakahalaga na itong.. yung quality ng pipes ay dapat pangmatagalan,” he said.
(Installation is quick and quality is considered. It is very important that the quality of the pipes is designed for long term use.)
Among the qualities of high density polyethylene is its capacity to contain man-made chemicals and solid waste to prevent leakage and contamination.
“Dati kasi kulang na kulang yung capacity sa drainage sa sewerage kaya ngayon po inanticipate namin yung demand. So ngayon pa lang malaki na para hindi tayo mahihirapan,” Villar explained.
(In the past, the drainage capacity in the sewerage was so insufficient. This time we anticipated the demand and increased the size to avoid future problems.)
The 5-kilometer drainage project has a total cost of P540-million.
The DPWH is targeting to complete installation by October for the reopening of the country’s top destination. — Vincent Arboleda | UNTV News & Rescue
DENR to require ‘environment friendly’ vehicles in Boracay
BORACAY Island, Philippines – Aside from rehabilitating the beaches of Boracay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recommends measures to improve the quality of air on the island.
The agency said they will require all vehicles in the island to comply with the specifications stated under the government’s modernization program.
“They must be compliant EURO 4. Meaning they will have a new engine because we would like to make Boracay air pollution compliant,” said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
In line with this, the agency will push through with the phase-out of gas-fueled tricycles in Boracay come September this year.
Malay LGU Executive Assistant Rowen Aguire, it has been years since the local government introduced the use of e-trikes as a replacement for gas-fueled tricycles. It is about time to comply with the directive as stated in the 6-month action plan of the LGU.
“Ma pi-phase out siya kasi ika-cancel mo na talaga yung kanilang mga franchises…pati yung permit niya to transport ire-revoke na rin,” Aguirre warned.
(It [tricycles] will be phased out because their franchises will be cancelled…even their permit to transport will also be revoked.)
Tricyle drivers said they are willing to comply with the requirements of DENR though they have a number of concerns. DENR, for its part, assured that they will give drivers enough time to upgrade their units to become environmental law compliant. — Vincent Arboleda / Marje Pelayo
17 local execs in Aklan face graft, other charges over Boracay mess
Aerial view of Boracay sunset (via UNTV drone)
BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Seventeen (17) local officials of Aklan province are now facing multiple charges over irregularities in managing Boracay Island.
DILG Undersecretary Epimacio Densing III filed Thursday (June 28) charges of graft, conduct unbecoming of public officials, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the services against them.
Among the respondents are Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Mayor Ceciron Cawaling of Malay, Vice Mayor Abram Saulog and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay.
According to Rowen Aguire, executive assistant of Malay, Mayor Cawiling welcomes any investigation into the matter.
“Hihintayin niyang dumating yung complaints then they will look into the allegations and they will answer accordingly kasi ang tingin naman niya ay wala naman siyang kasalanan,” Aguire said.
Sangguniang Bayan member and chair of the local environment committee, Maylynn Graf did not expect her name to be implicated in the case. She argued that she was among the advocates of protecting the environment in Boracay.
“Parang baka kulang pa yung ginagawa ko siguro, kailangan kong dagdagan. private sector ako o taong gobyerno ako yun naman ang rason ba’t nandito siguro ako at yun lang ang palagi kong ipinapaglaban,” Graf said.
UNTV News Team attempted to reach Governor Miraflores via phone call but to no avail.
Other barangay officials, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue. They said they will wait for the copy of the charges from the Office of the Ombudsman before they answer or comment on the case. – Vincent Arboleda / Marje Pelayo