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

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2018

 

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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Boracay’s compliant hotel and resorts reaches 296 – DOT

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2018

 

Aerial shot of Boracay Island

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Only 150 hotels and resorts are allowed to operate in Boracay Island when it reopened on October 26 after its six-month rehabilitation.

However, before the year-end, the number of accredited and compliant hotels and resorts has reached to 296.

This is equivalent to 10, 247 rooms in accommodation establishments for tourists.

And as the government continues its rehabilitation efforts on the island, several changes were seen since it was reopened to tourists.

The concreting works at the main road of the island is close to completion particularly the path from Cagban Jetty Port to Bulabog area and some parts of Station 1.

Travel has been made easier as both lanes are now open at the main road.

There are also designated areas for souvenir shops and massage.

Because beach beds and umbrellas are not allowed at the beach front, tourists are placing towels on the sand for sun bathing and resting after swimming.

All water sports activities have resumed on Sunday (December 30) after they were cancelled due to Tropical Depression Usman last week.

The Boracay Inter-agency Task Force and the Malay Local Government installed solar lamps along the stretch of  the beach front at the white beach.

Aside from serving as main lighting source in the white beach, they also deter thieves and other lawless elements thus preventing  untoward incidents.

The task force also prohibits the use of fireworks in Boracay Island to protect the endangered species such as the golden-crowned flying fox,  the largest known species of bat.

Any kind firecracker is also prohibited on the island.

“Lahat ng mga paputok pinagbabawal po sa isla. May designated naman po tayo dun sa mainland. May area po dun isang barangay. Kung may fireworks man dun na lang i-operate,” said Malay-Aklan Acting Mayor Abram Sualog.

Meanwhile, the local government, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, BFP, PNP and volunteer groups are all-set to respond on any incident in the year-end revelry.

Malay government has advised the public to use alternatives to firecrackers in welcoming 2019. — Vincent Arboleda| UNTV News & Rescue

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Duterte warns businessmen not to turn Palawan into a cesspool like Boracay

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2018

PALAWAN, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte warns business owners in Palawan to be mindful of their water waste disposals so as not to turn the island into a cesspool like what happened in Boracay.

So I’m giving notice also to all hotels nag-operate diyan sa dagat. Huwag ninyong itapon ‘yung tubo ninyo diretso. If you want to build a hotel, add another so many million to have a water treatment,” he said during a speech on the opening of Subaraw Festival in Palawan Saturday (November 10).

He advised them nothing more but to “follow rules.”

“So kindly just — isang ano lang ako. Maski ako. Follow rules. Period. Wala… Make the day perfect. Do not look for trouble. Just follow the law,” he added.

He also stressed the need to minimize the influx of tourists into the tourist province to prevent overcrowding.

You know, itong ano ninyo, linisin lang ninyo. Huwag lang ninyo i-overload. Huwag ninyong i-overload. Bantay kayo diyan. Boracay is a classic case of overloading. It can carry only so much people,” he said.

The President cited El Nido as an example where tourist arrival has been growing by 30% per year since 2016.

It can be noted that the President ordered the closure of Boracay Island because of overpopulation, pollution and corruption which brought the island into world headlines for being a “cesspool.”

Though the island reopened late in October, rehabilitation works continue.

A total of 116 establishments were ordered permanent closure due to multiple violations of environmental laws. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Andy Pagayona)

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