By Tara Yap
Iloilo City— The Duterte administration’s initiative to crack down on environmental violations at world-famous Boracay Island has been a center of attention at the East Asian Seas Congress.
“It is in nearby Boracay where the Philippine government has expressed strong will to clean, rehabilitate and preserve our environment,” said environmental lawyer Antonio La Viña, chairperson of the intergovernmental Partnerships in Environmental Management for Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA).
La Viña echoed Secretary Roy Cimatu of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Cimatu told delegates at the triennial congress hosted by Iloilo and Guimaras how DENR and its partner agencies have stopped unscrupulous hotels and resorts from dumping sewage wastewater into the sea while reclaiming wetlands, which are important to migratory birds.
The Boracay initiatives are closely connected to PEMSEA’s pact known as “Iloilo Declaration”, which one of the aims is to reduce marine pollution by properly managing coastal tourism destinations.
DENR-6 Regional Director Jim Sampulna said the congress that ends Friday is also showcasing the best practices of Iloilo and Guimaras in managing coastal and marine resources.
Sampulna said mangrove projects in Iloilo and management of marine protected areas in Guimaras can be emulated in areas of Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Laos, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste, and Vietnam.