Boracay task force records lowest coliform level in beach water

The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Task Force (BIATF) has recorded the lowest coliform level in the beach waters since the island was placed under massive rehabilitation in 2018.

(Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

Citing the latest water quality monitoring results, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said the coliform level was only "6.8 most probable number per (100) milliliters from our ambient stations in New Coast Boracay, Movenpick, Steve’s Cliff, and Front Beach Grotto."

The safe level is below 100 mpn/100 ml to be able to classify a water as Class SB that is suitable for swimming, skin diving, and other recreational activities.

Water quality monitoring continues in Boracay Island, Cimatu said as the coliform level in Boracay’s waters went down significantly since the rehabilitation of the island paradise started two years ago.

To be able to sustain the gains the BIATF has achieved, Cimatu, who heads the task force said it continues to strictly enforce environmental laws.

He noted the operations conducted in October and November led by the National Bureau of Investigation with the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group against nine establishments occupying protected forestlands.

Cimatu said appropriate cases have already been filed against the establishments for violation of the Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code and PD 1067 or the Philippine Water Code.

"This proves that the rule of law is paramount and law enforcement is crucial and non-negotiable," he said.

On the enforcement of the easement law, Cimatu reported that 249 out of 339 structures or 73 percent have complied with the 25+5 meter easement rule, as of November 2020. 

Aside from that, Cimatu noted that the BIATF has recovered in July Wetland No. 6 in Barangay Manoc-manoc from its illegal occupants.

"Wetlands are important to the island because these help reduce soil erosion and store water to minimize the impacts of flooding," he pointed out. "Of the nine wetlands, we have now recovered five. These are wetland Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8."

The DENR chief also cited that the task force continues to provide assistance to displaced workers, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"The task force initiated the food-for-work program dubbed as 'Boracay Wetland Bayanihan Program: We Clean and Heal as One," he said.

"With boracay COVID-free, tourist arrivals are slowly improving and we hope this trend continues as the Christmas holidays and summer days approach," Cimatu said.

"As the term of the task force nears its end on May 8, 2021, we envision a smooth transition to the new office that will be created to sustain the gains of the rehabilitation of our country’s prized jewel, Boracay Island," he added.