Gov't to limit daily visitors on Boracay
Alexis Romero ( - September 12, 2018 - 8:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — The inter-agency task force formed to oversee the rehabilitation of Boracay has cited the need to ensure that the number of visitors on the island would not exceed its capacity.

Citing a report by the task force, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there was overcrowding in the tourist destination even if there was lack of wastewater treatment systems. 

“There is an excess in existing population, non-tourists in the island; there’s an excess in existing hotels and available rooms, and there’s excess in solid waste generated. There is sufficient water supply; there is, however, insufficient wastewater treatment facilities,” Roque said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

The findings of the task force were presented in a Cabinet meeting last Tuesday. 

Roque said the Cabinet has adopted the recommendations of the task force including measures to ensure that the number of people in Boracay would not go beyond its capacity. 

"Some of the recommendations which were adopted yesterday include, maintain the tourism carrying capacity of 19,215 persons per day; 6,405 tourist arrivals per day. Evaluate the feasibility of utilizing the extra available rooms; promote wetlands utilization for filtering out waste from both soil and water through plant uptake," he said. 

The task force also recommended maximizing open spaces for vegetation; minimizing point source pollution; conducting an information campaign in solid waste and liquid waste management; minimizing coastal erosion; and establishing permanent monitoring facilities in designated areas. 

"The most important is that they assess, that the carrying capacity for Boracay is 19,215 persons per day, including 6,405 tourist arrivals per day," the presidential spokesman said. 

Last April, Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay for six months to allow state agencies to rehabilitate it. The president has also called the island a "cesspool" and has threatened to file cases against local officials who allowed the tourist destination to deteriorate.  

The closure, which started last April 26, is expected to displace about 35,000 workers and cost the economy about P1.9 billion.

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