Water firms ordered to help speed up Boracay cleanup
Louise Maureen Simeon, Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Water concessionaires in Boracay have been ordered to work together and help speed up the cleanup of the island, which will be closed starting next Thursday.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu yesterday directed the Boracay Island Water Co. Inc. (BWIC) and Boracay Tubi Systems Inc. (BTSI) to treat the wastewater being discharged into the sea and to solve the cesspool problem.

Cimatu also ordered an investigation into the reported spike in the coliform level at Bulabog beach.

The spike was reported days after the environment chief told a Cabinet meeting that a significantly decreasing trend of coliform occurrence has been observed in the area.

“That was a bright spot in our efforts. We were able to decrease it to 2,000 (most probable number per 100 milliliters) after a trend of millions over the past two years. And then here comes the shocking report that it has again reached two million,” Cimatu said.

He ordered intensified action against establishments illegally connected to the drainage system.

Cimatu recently met with the concessionaires and instructed them to improve the sewer and drainage connections as these are crucial toward improving the water quality and the island’s reopening to the public.

“We should not have reached this stage where we need to have Boracay closed if we had worked together sooner. We have to clean the drainage system now. We also have to make people responsible for the discharge, whether they are connected or not, because this is what is causing the problem,” he said.

The BWIC agreed to set up interceptors that would trap water from the drainage system and treat it first before discharging it into the sea.

The BTSI was ordered to clean the water around its facility in Sitio Lugotan in Barangay Manoc-Manoc and revive the mangrove forest in the area.

Cimatu lauded BTSI’s proposal to sponsor a water quality management area where stakeholders could monitor the quality of a water body and initiate efforts to maintain cleanliness.

Protest caravan

Boracay residents are not keen on supporting a protest movement against the closure of the island.

Members of militant groups Bayan Muna and Karapatan from Iloilo and Aklan on Wednesday staged a caravan protesting the closure.

Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay Sr., deputy director for operations of the regional police, said he is both happy and sad about the protest action.

“We’re sad that the protesters were not residents of Malay. They were from Iloilo and Kalibo,” Cambay said, adding he’s also glad that the people are not fond of rallies.

At least five vehicles were mobilized from Leganes town in Iloilo for the caravan.

“Ninety-nine percent of the Boracay residents and those from Malay and neighboring towns are not supporting any protest actions,” Cambay said.

The group was headed by Bayan Rep. Carlos Zarate, who was in Kalibo to launch the People’s Movement Against Boracay Closure or “iamBoracay.”

The group said they opposed the closure and the plan to construct a mega-casino on the island.

Zarate said they are in favor of the rehabilitation, but not the closure.


An environmentalist group suggested a moratorium in building new establishments and expansion of existing ones in Boracay, instead of closing the island to tourists.   

“Environmental laws should be strictly implemented and violators should be held liable. Livelihood of the workers should be ensured,” the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) said.

“The rehabilitation and management of tourism in Boracay should improve not only the natural coastal environment but also the marginalized communities in the area. There should be a democratic, comprehensive and scientifically sound rehabilitation program that involves all stakeholders,” the group said. — With Jennifer Rendon, Delon Porcalla




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