By Genalyn Kabiling
The life of the inter-agency task force on the rehabilitation of Boracay Island has been extended until May, 2021 based on an order of President Duterte.
In Executive Order No. 115, the President directed the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force to ensure the completion of critical rehabilitation projects in the popular beach destination as well as implement its carrying capacity regulations.
The government task force, formed via Executive Order No. 53 in 2018 to clean up and rehabilitate Boracay, was supposed to be dissolved last May 8, 2020. The latest executive order from the President amended EO 53 to extend the task force’s mandate to facilitate rehabilitation and ensure the ecological sustainability of the island.
“There is a need to complete critical projects in pursuant to the Boracay Action Plan such as but not limited to the water drainage system, demolition of remaining establishments situated in forest land and wetland areas, enforcement of beach and road easements, as well as the rehabilitation of the Boracay circumferential Road, and extend the life of the Task Force so it may ensure the implementation of carrying capacity regulations, and continue to carry out its mandate under EO No. 53,” the order read.
“The Task Force shall deemed dissolved on 08 May 2021 unless extended or sooner terminated by the President,” it added.
The Boracay Action Plan includes national and local interventions to ensure the island’s rehabilitation over the medium term and sustainable management over the long term towards a world-class tourism destination with a productive, inclusive and climate-resilient economy.
The President said the task force must publish a final accomplishment report, including the implementation of Boracay Action Plan and the total budget use, within 30 days prior to its dissolution.
In EO 115, the President noted that 33 percent of establishments in Boracay have not yet complied with the 25 meter plus 5 meters beach easement as of March 31. At least 27 percent of establishments are also not compliant with the road easement required under existing laws.
“Despite the demolition of 111 structures on wetlands, 227 structures on the beach easement and 896 on the road since the inception of the Task Force in 2018, there are still 723 structures built on forestland blocks, 112 on the beach easement, and 334 on the road easement,” the order read.
The President’s order noted that based on a government study in 2018, the Boracay Island surpassed its carrying capacity by 109.95 hectares for residential structures, 194.90 hectares for businesses with lodging or accommodation services, and 16.95 hectares for other business establishments. The total population carrying capacity also exceeded by 15,836 persons per day.
EO 115, signed by the President last May 11, takes effect immediately.
The popular tourist island was shut down for six months in 2018 to pave the way for massive rehabilitation amid pollution woes. The temporary closure was ordered by the President who claimed the island has become a “cesspool.”