Boracay task force pushes for regulatory body, not GOCC

Published March 25, 2021, 12:32 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—World-famous Boracay Island needs a regulatory body and not a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) to oversee the management of the country’s most famous beach destination in Malay town, Aklan province.

Boracay Island after it reopened to domestic tourists last October 2020.  (Tara Yap/File/Manila Bulletin)

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista confirmed to Manila Bulletin in a phone interview that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) is amenable to the creation of the proposed Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA).
The BIATF, which was created in 2018 following the start of the Duterte administration’s long-term rehabilitation of Boracay, should not be a GOCC.
“This group of diverse opinions unanimously concluded that a regulatory body similar to the BIATF would best serve the needs of Boracay Island and its people,” the BIATF said in a position paper sent to the Committee Secretary Raul Terso of the House of Representatives.
While bills proposing to create BIDA are still pending in Congress, the BIATF has cautioned that a being a GOCC  “would distract from its regulatory function to safeguard the island’s ecological integrity.”
The BIATF is particularly concerned with one of the bills that wants to declare Boracay as a “special economic and tourism zone”.
“But Boracay Island is already bursting at the seams, having exceeded its carrying capacity in terms of structures and population. Thus, there is no more space for further development  into an ecotourism zone,” the BIATF pointed out.
The BIATF is currently overseeing the management of Boracay.  It is chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and co-chaired  by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).