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SC urged to issue TRO on Boracay closure

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

Boracay, a resort island in Western Visayas

MANILA, Philippines — Two island workers filed before the Supreme Court Wednesday a petition seeking to stop the impending closure of Boracay Island on April 26.

Represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers, the workers filed a petition for prohibition and mandamus against President Rodrigo Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.

“We are requesting the status quo ante order in order to restore the condition prior to the closure,” NUPL-Panay’s legal counsel Atty Angelo Karlo Guillen said.

The petitioners argued that tourists will be deprived of their rights to travel as well as the residents of their rights to enter Boracay. They also claim that prohibition to enter the island may only be applied on the condition of threat to national security, public safety, and public health. They express particular concern on the welfare of workers in the island who will be losing their jobs once the closure pushes through.

“It violates the right to due process of all those persons who are earning a living in Boracay island,” Guillen said.

NUPL requested the anonymity of the petitioners for security reasons. They are confident that the Highest Court will take their side on the issue.

“Absolutely No Merit”

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang sees the petition as “absolutely no merit for any private party to restrain the closure of Boracay” noting that “SC itself has previously ruled that Boracay is owned primarily by the state.”

The Palace official stressed that “the closure is because of the inherent police power of the state to protect the environment in Boracay.”

Roque concluded that “Unless a TRO is issued, the planned closure of Boracay to tourists shall proceed.” — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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DAR vows to distribute 8 hectares of Boracay agri land to Ati tribe

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

 

Boracay Island

Instead of running for the upcoming elections, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones has decided to continue his duty in the department.

Earlier reports said the Secretary was going to run under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas that advocates federalism.

However, Castriciones confirmed that he will focus instead on serving farmer-beneficiaries by implementing government’s land distribution program.

“The president has given me a directive that we will aggressively distribute all these lands to our farmer beneficiaries,” said the agrarian reform secretary.

Castriciones said that there are currently 561,000 hectares of land and 260,000 “government-owned lands” that are up for distribution by DAR.

He also assured to carry out President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to distribute among farmer-beneficiaries the agricultural lands in Boracay Island.

“I will see to it, with the blessings of the president that his directive about the lands in Boracay to be distributed shall be finally implemented,” said Castriciones.

Currently, there are 7.9 hectares of land in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc in Boracay that can be distributed to the island’s indigenous Ati tribe.

The government targets to place about 25 hectares of land in Boracay under land reform as part of the island’s clean-up drive. — Yssa Jalmasco ( with reports from Charlie Barredo)

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Non-compliant hotels, resorts in Boracay warned against accepting online bookings

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Aerial shot of Boracay after its six-month rehabilitation

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines — Hotels and resorts in Boracay that have not passed the set environmental standards to operate should not accept booking reservations.

According to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, these establishments should stop promoting online until they complete the requirements mandated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Puyat warned that these establishments may face charges for doing so.

“The actions of these non-compliant establishments in soliciting and or accepting booking reservations may be considered deceptive and may subject them to civil liability and suits,” said Romulo-Puyat.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año added that establishments should be 100 percent compliant before they will be allowed to operate.

This is to avoid any confusion that may cause negative impact on tourists planning to visit Boracay.

Some hotels are also having difficulty in getting new environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for not having a proper waste disposal.

Aside from that, the easement rule is also not followed by establishments along the white beach and even beside the road.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu reiterated,”The rule is very clear, non-compliant no operation. Ganun lang ka simple. And it should be 100 percent compliant hindi 95 percent [or] 90 percent.”

When asked what will happen to non-compliant establishments that insist on operating, Cimatu said, ” We will padlock it.”

Meanwhile, a hotel in Boracay was found to have a falsified DENR permit.

According to Cimatu, they were able to identify the culprit as an employee of the owner of the hotel.

A law suit will be filed by the DENR against the individual who falsified the document

“Falsification of documents against the person gumawa ng ganun. Pag inincrimate niya yung boss niya, bahala sila,” Cimatu said.

The Boracay Interagency Task Force required the establishments in Boracay to be compliant with the standards of DENR, the DILG and the DOT for them to finally be able to operate on the island.

Puyat added that they will continue accepting applications for compliance even after the soft opening on October 26. – Vincent Arboleda

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Siargao, Boracay, Palawan top list of Asia’s best islands

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Boracay sunset via UNTV Drone

 

 

Three islands in the Philippines not only made it to the list of best places in Asia but also dominated the top three spots according to the 2018 Reader’s Choice Award of international travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler.

Leading the pack is Siargao, often dubbed as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” due its towering waves.

In 2017, Conde Nast Traveler ranked Siargao Island’s Cloud Nine as the fifth best-surfing spot in the world for its thick hollow tube waves.

Meanwhile, despite being shut down for a much-needed rehabilitation, Boracay still ranked second for its world-famous powdery white sand and shallow blue water ideal for a leisurely swim or snorkel.

Claiming third spot is Palawan, home to the world’s longest underground river which was voted as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.

The Department of Tourism is delighted with the latest recognition given to the country’s top destinations.

“It is an honor for our destinations to be voted once again in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. This serves as an invitation to the tourists in time for the winter vacation,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a statement. — Chato Alonsagay | UNTV News & Rescue

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