The Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG) will step up its information campaign on the “do’s and don’ts” for tourists visiting the world-famous resort island in the wake of a viral beachfront pooping incident.
The BIARMG, which is headed by Director Natividad Bernardino of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is currently looking into a video circulating on social media involving two female foreign nationals—one allowing child to defecate in Boracay’s waters and the other burying a used diaper in the white sand.
“This move should send a strong message to local and foreign tourists to uphold the government’s advocacy for sustainable tourism and to observe the rules and regulations being implemented while enjoying the island paradise,” Bernardino explained.
According to Bernardino, the BIARMG is considering some new measures to help tourists comply with the rules and regulations in Boracay, particularly the anti-littering ordinance that prohibits littering, urinating, defecating, spitting and dumping trash in public places.
“We are planning to give pamphlets through the airline on the do’s and don’ts on the island especially on the proper way to throw garbage and the policy against defecation at the Boracay beach,” Bernardino said.
Bernardino said they are also mulling the inclusion of other foreign languages in the signages installed at the beachfront against littering, smoking and carrying of glass bottles, among others.
“Majority of the foreign visitors are from China and South Korea,” Bernardino noted. “Considering the great proportion of Chinese and Korean visitors relative to the total number of Boracay’s visitors, we should now perhaps include Chinese and Korean languages in the signages, which presently carry warnings only in English.”
Records from the Malay Municipal Tourism Office (MMTO) show that out of the 619,934 tourists who visited Boracay from January 1 to April 15 this year, 357,041 or 57 percent are foreigners, majority of whom are Chinese and Koreans.
Local tourists account for 240,745 while overseas Filipino workers number 22,148.
The rest of the foreign tourists came from Japan, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
MMTO records also show that 1,043 violators were reported from January to March this year led by Chinese tourists at 605 violators; followed by South Koreans, 220; and Filipinos, 173.
Bernardino said the foreign nationals featured in the viral poop video are examples of irresponsible tourists who have no respect for Boracay, the locals and their fellow tourists.
“Although it may be considered an isolated incident, we are nonetheless taking this seriously, which is why my office is seeking out to the person who uploaded the video so that substantial information can be made and appropriate actions can be taken on the matter,” Bernardino said.
Citing reports from the Boracay Enhanced Security Strategy and Tactics (BESST) Police, Bernardino said apprehensions of violators in Phase 1 beachfront have dropped from 270 in April 2019 to 74 on June 8, 2019 , while those in Phase II, main road area have decreased from 527 to eight for the same period.
The BIARMG is tasked to monitor Boracay’s rehabilitation works which include regular water quality assessment on the beach and the road rehabilitation being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways, among others.
In the morning of August 14, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu gave instructions to cordon off the beachfront area in Station 1 where the viral video was taken.
The area was temporarily closed for swimming for 48 hours or until water quality tests show safe levels for human contact. ###