In this March 11, 2020 photo, some tourists are taking photo in the colorful Boracay signage at the Caticlan Jetty Port. Adel
Duterte extends term of Boracay rehab body
Alexis Romero ( - May 27, 2020 - 5:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the term of the task force formed to oversee the rehabilitation of world-famous tourist destination Boracay island.

Executive Order No. 115 extended the life of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force until May 8, 2021 "unless extended or sooner terminated by the president."

"The task force shall be deemed dissolved on 08 May 2021, unless extended or sooner terminated by the President," the EO issued last May 11 read.

The order amended EO No. 53, which formed the task force in 2018 to facilitate the rehabilitation of Boracay and to ensure its ecological sustainability.

Before the creation of the task force, Duterte announced that he was ordering the six-month closure and rehabilitation of the island, which he had described as a "cesspool."

Under EO No. 53, the task force will be deemed dissolved after two years or on May 8, 2020 unless extended by the president.

Two years after the creation of the task force, some structures have yet to be cleared and several establishments are not yet compliant with road easement requirements. Duterte said as of the end of March, 33% of establishments on Boracay are not yet compliant with the '25 meters plus five meters' beach easement and 27% of establishments have not complied with the road easement, required under existing laws.

There are still 723 structures built on forestland blocks, 112 on the beach easement, and 334 on the road easement, the president added. A total of 111 structures on wetlands, 227 structures on the beach easement, and 896 on the road easement since the creation of the task force.

"There is a need to complete critical projects in Boracay island pursuant to the Boracay Action Plan," Duterte said.

The extension of the task force's term would allow the government to finish projects like the improvement of the water drainage system, demolition of remaining establishments on forest land and wetland areas, enforcement of beach and road easements.

Duterte has also ordered the task force to publish a final report on its accomplishments, including plans and programs implemented and the total budget used.

Quarantine easing in tourism sites?

In a related development, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said tourist destinations Boracay and Bohol may shift to the most lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in the coming days.

"We have options to encourage domestic tourism if possible. We are looking t what will happen in Bohol because we know that Bohol and Boracay are favorite destinations," Roque said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

"Now, they are under GCQ (general community quarantine). It is possible that they may be placed under MGCQ in the coming days, where 50% of tourism is allowed," he added.  

Tourism is not yet allowed under GCQ. Once an area is placed under MGCQ, tourism sites may reopen but they can only fill up half of their capacities. The government has yet to identify areas to be placed under MGCQ.

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