National government yet to adopt LGU-approved rehab plan for Boracay

Published April 18, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

Eight days before the total closure of Boracay island, the national government is yet to formally adopt any masterplan that will facilitate the six-month rehabilitation — even the plan that the local government of Malay has asked architect and urban planner Felino Palafox to design.

Boracay, one of the most famous island tourism destinations in the world, will be closed from tourists for a maximum of six months starting April 26.

The Palafox group is the only company that has been tapped by the local government of Malay to design a rehabilitation plan for the island.

But the issue as to whether the national government will allow its adoption has not yet been resolved, even until now.

In an interview, Palafox said that without specifying any date, the national government has asked his group to present their Boracay Integrated Tourism Plan.

“We have this contract with local government until September. And we were told to fast-track it,” Palafox said, adding that the masterplan would first deal with open-pit garbage dam, untreated sewer, overhead wires, and the sidewalks.

In his masterplan, Palafox suggested the installation of elevated boardwalks by the beach, the establishment of transit stations, fixing of road transport corridors, widening of walkways, provision of bike lanes, and deployment of bus rapit transit.

While he declined to disclose how much it will take to implement his masterplan, he said in an interview that it could reach to “billions.”

The masterplan of Palafox has been divided into several phases, which highlights recommendations on what should be done in the first 100 days, in the short term, in the medium term, and in the long term. The masterplan also included a vision plan.

Palafox said the rehabilitation of Boracay will take years and that the upcoming six-month closure would only cover “corrective measures” in fixing the problems in the island.

At this point, the government is yet to adopt any masterplan for the Boracay closure, merely specifying the “things to do” in the first weeks of the rehabilitation.

President Rodrigo Duterte is also expected to declare any time soon a state of calamity in the island so the government could utilize an emergency fund worth P2 billion to implement the rehabilitation.

He will also forge an executive order to formally shutdown all the tourism activities on the island.