DENR eyes Boracay rehab completion by mid-2022

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is eyeing the completion of rehabilitation of the Boracay Island by June 2022.

According to DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu, water quality in Boracay beaches has significantly improved since its rehabilitation started in 2018.

Water samples in 2018 showed that fecal coliform level was at 900 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 ml). But samples are now down to 45 MPN/100 ml on average.

Meanwhile, Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Natividad Bernardino said a June 2022 completion target is a "realistic goal."

This is because 282 or 83 percent of 339 structures—composed of commercial, residential, and other establishments—encroaching on the 25+5-meter beach easement have already been demolished, Bernanrdino added.

"We have to do it. Hindi pwedeng hindi. Gawin natin (We shouldn't do it. Let's do it)," Cimatu said during BIATF's meeting Friday, referring to the removal of illegally-built structures on the island.

After the meeting, Cimatu also conducted beach forest tree-planting of around 50 agojo seedling or native pine trees along the White Beach at Station 3.

"We are doing this as a nature-based solution to address the issue that the 25+5 easement has shrunk a bit because of soil erosion,” Cimatu explained.

The whole stretch of the white beach is targeted to be included in the tree-planting activity.

By the second quarter of 2022,BIATF is targeting to demolish 142 more establishments to meet 94 percent completion.