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DILG probes use of collected Boracay environmental fees

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, 7 March 2018 01:08 PM

 

Boracay Island

MANILA, Philippines — After the Building Code of the Philippines and the Fire Code of the Philippines found out about the environmental law violations of business establishments in Boracay Island, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is now investigating how environmental fees collected from local and foreign tourists who entered the island were used by the local government of Malay.

Authorities uncovered the 10-year collection made by the Malay LGU from 2008 to 2018.

The Malay government charges tourists who enter Borcacay P75 each.

Based on the figures of the Department of Tourism (DOT), 2-million tourists visited Boracay last year.

The number is higher than the 16 percent recorded in 2016.

The investigation of the DILG revealed that a local ordinance issued by the Malay LGU mandates the environmental fee collected in Boracay be transferred to the province’s general funds.

This means that aside from maintaining the orderliness of the island and protecting its environment, the LGU may use the amount for any program or activity it may conduct or implement.

The DILG may file charges against the officials of the city once they are proven to have committed anomaly in the use of the said environmental fee.

“If there are people who are liable officials local or even national [they] should be identified and cases [should] be filed against them,” said DILG-6 regional director Atty. Anthony Nuyda.

On the other hand, the local government of Malay said that it is open to any investigation regarding its use of the said fund.

“We have not been hiding anything since we have no problem with COA,” Malay LGU executive assistant Rowen Aguirre said. — Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Demolition warning issued against non-compliant Boracay establishments

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 1 March 2019 03:31 PM

Boracay Island

The Boracay Interagency Task Force has given 10 non-compliant establishments a 15-day ultimatum, beginning March 1, to remove their structures after failing to follow the easement rule in Boracay even after the 10-month rehabilitation effort.

During a press conference on Thursday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said this warning will send a “strong message to everyone, who are still violating  the easement, that we really mean business.”

A 30-meter no-build zone along the beachfront was implemented in Boracay since the start of its rehabilitation in April.

Año warned that the non-compliant establishments should opt for self-demolition, otherwise the Task Force will take on the responsibility of removing these establishments.

“We will issue the final ultimatum and then we’ll give them 15 days, then we will forcibly demolish all these establishments if they do not do self-demolition.” Año added. —Aileen Cerrudo

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Cops prohibited from drinking in public — DILG

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, 9 January 2019 04:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to release an order that prohibits cops from drinking in public places.

Año said this in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive prohibiting police officers from drinking in bars, nightclubs and other
public areas.

The secretary said that senior police officials should serve as role models to their colleagues.

He added that the president is correct in saying the public loses respect for the police when they are seen drinking in public.

“Nakakahiya at masagwang makita na may mga pulis na nag-iinuman sa publiko. The job of the police requires the respect of the people, therefore they must do what it takes to gain and maintain public trust,” Año said.

Violators of the new ordinance may face administrative charges. — UNTV News & Rescue

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REPASO 2018: The Boracay story: Years of ‘cesspool’ to a paradise in months

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 31 December 2018 07:10 PM

 

President Rodrigo Duterte on April 26, 2018 ordered a six-month closure of Boracay Island after reports of overpopulation, pollution and corruption turned the country’s top tourist destination into a ‘cesspool’.

“I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool. It is destroying the environment of the Republic of the Philippines and creating a disaster,” the President said.

Environment investigators discovered poor sewage system with pipelines discharging wastewater directly to the sea.

What happened next to Boracay was a total overhaul – establishments within the 20-meter easement zone were demolished; drainages were replaced and repaired; roads were constructed and widened.

Thousands of workers and residents temporarily lost their sources of income as commercial establishments were barred from operating.

The government, meanwhile, provided alternative jobs for residents under the cash for work program.

While rehabilitation was ongoing, it was discovered that a portion of a mountain in the island was flattened to give way for the construction of a casino resort

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched an investigation.

But the local government maintained there was never been a plan to construct a casino in the island.

Early this year, Boracay made world headlines as President Rodrigo Duterte ordered its shutdown after declaring it a “cesspool” for years of mismanagement, over tourism, abuse, massive pollution and corruption.

“I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool. It is destroying the environment of the Republic of the Philippines and creating a disaster,” the President said.

Government investigators found that most commercial structures had been operating without permits and violating environmental laws among others.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) deep penetrating radar revealed that 43 sites in the entire white beach area of Boracay Island were planted with illegal sewers.

More than 2,000 businesses and homes were illegally connected to the island’s sewage system, all pumping their waste water directly into the sea.

Pollution level at the beach was unprecedented as coliform contamination in Boracay waters already exceeded environmental standards for recreational water.

Seventeen (17) local officials of Aklan province were charged with graft, conduct unbecoming of public officials, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the services over irregularities in managing Boracay Island.

An inter-agency task force was created to manage the six-month rehabilitation works in the island starting off with the construction of a new sewerage and drainage system, communication lines and the main road.

After six months of closure and with environment laws and building codes now being enforced, only 68 hotels and resort lodgings are noted compliant, ready to accept bookings.

After days of dry run, the paradise Island of the Philippines is set to officially reopen its gates to tourists but…under stricter compliance guidelines.

Tourist arrivals have been limited to 6,400 each day.

The ‘no booking, no entry’ policy is strictly being imposed.

No smoking and drinking is allowed at the beach front.

No party events by the beach.

No loitering.

The Boracay Inter-agency Task Force hopes the improvements in Boracay will become a template for other rehabilitation works in various tourist spots in the country.

Today, rehabilitation works are still ongoing in Boracay.

The government aims at completing the rehabilitation in 2020. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

 

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