By Tara Yap
Iloilo City — A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official renewed the call to form a management body to tackle the problems gripping the world-famous Boracay island in Aklan.
“It’s time to have an overseeing body in Boracay,” said Jim Sampulna, DENR regional director for Western Visayas.
President Duterte threatened to shut down the country’s premier tourist attraction if recurring issues are not solved within six months.
The 1,032-hectare island that welcomed more than 2 million tourists last year has long been beset with problems such as untreated wastewater, trash, flooding, deforestation, and unregulated development.
Proposals for an overseeing body have been tossed around for more than a decade. In 2008, then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary “to exercise administration and control” over Boracay.
Sampulna reiterated the earlier pronouncement of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu that any management body for Boracay should not include the local governments.
Regional DENR officials have long expressed frustration that officials in Malay town and Aklan province are not fully cooperative in implementing environmental laws.
Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores and local officials in Malay insist they should have a hand in solving Boracay’s woes.