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EXCLUSIVE: DAR conducts aerial inspection over Boracay; concludes all structures are ‘illegal’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Boracay Island

BORACAY, Philippines – Agrarian Reform Undersecretary John Castriciones conducted an aerial inspection on Boracay Island Wednesday together with members of UNTV News Team.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has affirmed that all structures on Boracay Island can be considered illegal based on the declared land classification of the island.

“Ang nakita namin ay puro illegal structures ( We saw a lot of illegal structures). We can say that these are illegal structures because wala namang (there was no) conversion order na nangyari (that happened) ,” Castriciones said.

DAR’s record shows that 600 hectares of the more than 1,000 hectares total land area of Boracay are declared agricultural land under Proclamation 1064 issued in 2006.

The inspection was in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to assess productive lands in the island and distribute them to qualified beneficiaries.

Based on DAR’s initial inspection, about 15 hectares of land is feasible for reform and distribution. Castriciones said priority in DAR’s distribution list are the indigenous community and farmers who are natives in the island.

At present, DAR is ongoing with its land verification in Boracay. The agency will create a task force who will continue the validation process of the remaining agricultural land. – Lalaine Moreno / Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Cimatu speaks up on alleged ‘flattening’ of a Boracay mountain

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2018

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.

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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.”

 

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DSWD suspends conditions of 4Ps for beneficiaries in Boracay

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Displaced Boracay workers who availed of the government’s cash-for-work program

 

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) eased the conditions of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) cash grants to residents displaced by the rehabilitation of Boracay Island.

“Usually hindi na iyan sila makaka-attend ng conditionalities dahil apektado na ang kanilang hanapbuhay. They have to look for another hanapbuhay so my suspension ang kanilang conditionalities,” said Rose San Agustin, Social Welfare Officer V of DSWD Region 6.

It is the mandate of DSWD to suspend the conditions of the cash grant in the event of a calamity. At present, there are around six hundred 4Ps beneficiaries in Boracay.  Agustin clarified that the suspension of conditions is just temporary.

“Just for the closure lang but it doesn’t mean na sinuspende ang kanilang conditionalities forever na usually balik na yan sa normal after buksan ulit ang Boracay,” Agustin added.

A qualified family is entitled to a health grant of P500 per month. Children of a beneficiary are entitled to an educational grant amounting to P300 per month for a period of ten months for elementary students and P500 per month for high school students. The educational grant covers up to three children.

Aside from monetary assistance, the family also receives P600 worth of rice subsidy per month.

Likewise, DSWD awarded several 4Ps beneficiaries affected by  the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law with P2,400 unconditional cash transfers each.  Aside from 4Ps, affected residents may also avail DSWD’s cash for work and sustainable livelihood program. – Lalaine Moreno | UNTV News & Rescue

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Boracay Rehabilitation: 229 establishments demolished

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Boracay road widening project

 

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the local government of Malay have brought down 229 establishments in Boracay in line with the 12-meter road-widening project.

DPWH said they are rushing the demolition works as they only have one month to complete the road clearing operation which includes water lines, electric posts and coconut trees that affect the road widening project.

According to record of the local government, there are 579 establishments in three barangays that need to be cleared. However, the agency admitted they could only clear those from Cagban Port to Balabag Yapak boundary given the six-months time so they appeal for the public’s cooperation.

“Pipilitin po naming matapos. Ang importante lang po rito mag-cooperate po lahat ng mga stakeholders na matulunga kami,” Aklan District Engineer Noel Fuentebella said.

(We will do our best to finish it. What’s important is the stakeholders cooperation in our efforts.)

DPWH has allotted P490 million for the Phase 1 of the project which covers 5.26-kilometer road.

Road widening works will begin once the clearing operation is finished by end of May. Those who would refuse to provide a right of way will be referred to the LGU for appropriate action.

“Second week pa lang namin ngayon marami na kaming na-demolish. Binigay namin ang mga contact number namin na if they want, willing po kaming tawagan kami and we will schedule it para matulungan sila,” Fuentebella said.

(It’s only our second week but we have already demolished a lot. We gave our contact numbers to [establishments] so they can call us  for any help and we will schedule it.)

– Lalaine Moreno | UNTV News & Rescue

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