BIDA in SONA: Duterte praises Boracay rehab but stresses need for sustainability

Published July 30, 2020, 3:38 AM

by Johannes Chua

Explaining what the Boracay Island Development Authority is all about

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address last Monday, touched on the environment by highlighting the success of the rehabilitation of Boracay. The President urged Congress to enact a law creating BIDA or the Boracay Island Development Authority.

Boracay Island has reopened to local tourists from Western Visayas. (Photo by Tara Yap)

“The rehabilitation of Boracay Island showcased our resolve to safeguard the environment,” the President said, stressing that for the rest of his term, there should be “concerted efforts in protecting the environment.”

“We have seen the remarkable reemergence of the island back to its former glory. I want this sustained. I ask Congress to enact a law creating – at importante ito (and this is important) — the Boracay Island Development Authority or BIDA. We need it.”

A statement from the Regional Public Affairs Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6 (DENR-6), said that the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF) has already endorsed the creation of BIDA and already has a draft bill before Congress.

As a backgrounder, the BIATF was created on May 8, 2018 under Executive Order No. 53 with DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu as chairperson, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, and Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as co-chairs.

Under Executive Order No. 115, President Duterte extended the BIATF until May 2021 to allow the completion of the critical projects adopted from the Boracay Action Plan (BAP) based on its four thematic areas, namely: Enforcement of laws and regulations, Pollution control and prevention, Rehabilitation and recovery of the ecosystem, and Sustainability of island activities.

“We will continue the unfinished project with plans already been set for the island. The construction of drainage along the circumferential road shall be continued, the beach and road easement as well as illegal buildings built in forest lands will be addressed by the BIATF this year, and to continue with the rehabilitation of the world-class destination,” said Cimatu, who visited Boracay Island together with the DILG and DOT secretaries last June 11.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, together with DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, BIATF general manager Natividad Bernardino, and DENR-6 regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. conducted an inspection at Boracay Island

So what’s BIDA all about?

The BIDA will promote growth for sustainable development, to maintain ecological balance, to protect and enhance the quality of the environment in the Island.

The BIDA will operate, administer short and long-term plans, and manage the rehabilitation and development of Boracay Island, as well as regulate the issuance of permits, order of closure or suspension, cessation of operations, and any concern that are detrimental to Boracay Island.  It will also help ensure that the island will continue to exist with a functioning ecosystem under a workable plan for sustainable development.

The Boracay Island has reopened to local tourists from Western Visayas on June 16. The DENR continues to closely monitor its water quality as it reached an impressive safe level suitable for swimming and other recreational activities.