Citing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as the reason, President Duterte has extended the life of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force up to the last day of his term on June 30, 2022.
Duterte effected the extension through the signing of Executive Order (EO) No.147. A copy of the three-page document was sent to Malacañang reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 14.
The particular task force was created in 2018 via EO No.53 “to facilitate the rehabilitation and ensure the ecological sustainability of the island of Boracay”.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of community quarantine measures have resulted in unprecedented delays and massive disruptions on the implementation of critical programs and projects based on the key thematic areas of the Boracay Action Plan,” EO No.147 read.
It further stated that the task force itself “recommended the extension of its mandate under EO No. 53, as amended, to ensure completion of the remaining milestones of the Boracay action plan until 2022.”
As such, Duterte signed EO No.147, which provided that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force “shall be deemed dissolved on 30 June, 2022, unless extended or sooner terminated by the President.”
Duterte is set to step down from Malacañang that same day.
Despite being the crown jewel of Philippine tourism, Boracay in Aklan province had reportedly been neglected for many years, resulting in ecological and environmental degradation.
That’s why in 2018, Duterte famously called Boracay a “cesspool” and ordered its six-month closure to pave the way for its rehabilitation.
“All other provisions of EO No.53, as amended, shall remain in full force and effect,” EO No.147 further read.
But the document did cite a handful of accomplishments by the task force in Boracay thorough the years.
These include the approval of the 10-year solid waste management plan and cave management plan on the island, the implementation of which is being monitored; recovery of two wetlands from illegal settlers; and the significant compliance (at least 95 percent) on the order for accommodation establishments near the famous white beach to construct their very own sewage treatment plants or STPs.
“Based on the ambient water quality monitoring, all beaches, except at the Tulubhan outfall, are now Class SB-compliant, which means that they are suitable for recreational activities,” the new EO indicated.
The term of the task force was previously extended for one year up to May 8, 2021 via EO No.115 series of 2020.