Government agencies in charge of the rehabilitation of Boracay will closely monitor compliance and effectiveness of the guidelines laid down to protect the resort island from unsustainable tourism practices during its dry run or partial reopening from October 15 to 25.
Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, head of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), said the 11-day dry run would allow government to test all systems put in place during the six months Boracay underwent much-needed rest and cleanup.
He therefore appealed for cooperation and understanding from all stakeholders and local tourists, who will be among the firsts to experience a reinvigorated Boracay.
“We will be monitoring a lot of things, from managing the entrance, exit, and stay of the tourists, to enforcing rule of law on establishments that have been found to be non-compliant to laws and regulations,” Cimatu said.
The former military chief said the government would strictly enforce the “no compliance, no operation” policy for establishments not only during the dry run but beyond Boracay’s formal reopening on October 26.
“We will not hesitate to close hotels and other establishments that would operate without clearance from the BIATF,” Cimatu said.
He also warned tourists who are planning to visit the island to make sure they book their accommodations with compliant hotels and similar establishments, a complete list of which will be released by the Department of Tourism.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is deploying at least 30 environmental enforcers to check on Boracay’s water quality, solid waste management, drainage and sewage systems, and occupation on forest areas and wetlands.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have committed to help maintain peace and order on the island during the dry run leading to the October 26 reopening.
“We are trying to correct the mistakes of the past, and we have succeeded in finding a solution to cleaning the environment. We do not want to backslide on what we have started,” Cimatu said.
The BIATF recently approved a set of guidelines to ensure Boracay’s environment will be sustained and protected from the expected massive influx of local and foreign tourists.
The guidelines include a regulation on tourist arrivals and number of persons allowed to stay in Boracay, in accordance with the island’s carrying capacity.
A study conducted by the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau and the University of the Philippines-Los Baños revealed that the island’s daily carrying capacity is 54,945—19,215 tourists and 35,730 non-tourists, which refer to residents, migrants and stay-in workers.
During the dry run, the BIATF will be implementing a traffic scheme amid ongoing road works on the island. This includes ferrying visitors directly to the Tambisaan port or pontoons set up at different boat stations, and impounding private and public vehicles operating without permit. ###