DENR hails BIATF’s Boracay rehab efforts

June 23, 2022 Cory Martinez 34 views

MISSION accomplished, Mr. President!”

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna declared this following the culmination of the rehabilitation and management of the island by the DENR-led Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF).

Sampulna reported that the task force was “successful” in its rehabilitation efforts on the famous tourist destination.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) 53 on May 8, 2018, to create the BIATF, which was tasked to supervise Boracay’s rehabilitation.

The task force was created following Duterte’s order of closure and massive rehabilitation of Boracay Island after declaring it a “cesspool” due to uncontrolled development and overcrowding over the years.

The term of the task force, which is co-chaired by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), was extended until May 8, 2021, through EO 115.

However, its tenure was extended again until June 30, 2022, through EO 148 to “give it time” to complete its projects.

“Because of the series of EOs by President Duterte, and through the leadership of former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, naging malinis muli ang Boracay,” said Sampulna, noting that Cimatu’s “hard work” kept the BIATF’s spirit to carry on with the colossal task.

“Direct draining of sewage into the sea, unorganized solid waste management, and building of hotels and establishments near the beach and roads are some problems that the task force worked on,” Sampulna added.

Martin Jose Despi, Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager, on the other hand, said that it was “no easy task”, but was proud of the collective efforts of the BIATF, local government units (LGUs), attached agencies, stakeholders, and the people have achieved over the past four years.

“It’s not just about reviving the island. We are also showing the world what Filipinos are capable of, which we should be really proud of. I don’t think that there is any rehabilitation program in the history of our country that would match what we have done in Boracay,” he said.

Under the enforcement of laws and regulations, about 300 structures at the beachfront were cleared to follow the “25+5” meter beach easement rule.

Over 1,000 structures that have been demolished for the widening and improvement of the Boracay Circumferential Road have already complied with the 12-meter road easement with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Meanwhile, 21 sampling stations were established and regularly monitored the island’s water quality.

The highest fecal coliform level recorded in the last two to five months was 33 most probable number per 100 milliliters, which is within the standard water quality level.

With the help of the DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), it deployed a ground-penetrating radar that detects underground irregularities.

Through the use of radar, DENR-MGB discovered 44 big pipes from establishments that directly discharge wastewater to the beachfront.

Since then, over 100 sewage treatment plants have been established among hotels and business establishments, while others are now connected to the sewer line.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority helped to fix pumping stations on the island to avoid any major flooding in the future.

The BIATF and the municipality of Malay have also implemented a “zero-waste” policy by establishing collection points and schedules to efficiently manage solid waste on Boracay Island.

Under the rehabilitation program, five of the nine wetlands were adopted by different private companies, namely Wetland No. 2 adopted by Energy Development Corporation; Wetland No. 3 adopted by San Miguel Corporation; Wetland No. 4 adopted by Aboitiz Equities Ventures; Wetland No. 6 adopted by Boracay Tubi Systems Incorporated; and Wetland No. 8 adopted by JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation.

The BIATF also assigned a place for water and other recreational sports to protect and conserve Boracay’s coastal and marine resources.