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Duterte bats for creation of Boracay Island Development Authority

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Duterte bats for creation of Boracay Island Development Authority
This photo taken on June 17, 2020 shows a general shot of empty famous white beach of Boracay Island in central Philippines, as community quarantine against COVID-19 still continues throughout the country, with foreign tourists still banned on beaches.
AFP / Ernesto Cruz

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called on Congress to pass a law creating a Boracay Island Development Authority to oversee the resort island's environmental sustainability.

In his penultimate State of the Nation Address speech, Duterte highlighted the result of the ongoing rehabilitation of the country’s top tourist destination and called for its maintenance.

“I ask Congress to enact a law creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA). We need it,” he said.

Duterte cited that Boracay is  doing well “because of its scenery.”

“If it’s only coconut and black sa--white sand, water,wala ‘yan…pero you add the visitors there, then it becomes a very tempting destination,” the chief executive said.

“We have shared remarkable emergence of the island back to its former glory. I want this sustained,” he added.

What is BIDA?

In November 2019, Boracay Interagency Task Force chief Roy Cimatu, also the environment and natural resources chief, said that BIDA would be tasked with permanently managed the island is being proposed in Congress.

Under the proposal, the new Boracay body will serve as an attached of the DENR since its main concern is the environmental sustainability of the island.

Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista (DUMPER PTDA party-list) last February filed House Bill No. 6285 that seeks to create the national office, Boracay Development Authority.

In her explanatory note, Bautista said that Boracay "boasts all the elements of a tropical haven – crystal blue waters, powder white sand beaches, liberal doses of tropical palms and flowering plants, and a healthy diverse marine life.”

However, she said that due to the failure to control tourists, the island suffered degradation “due to pollution, poor waste disposal and other environmental concerns.”

“With this bill, a national office will be created to ensure that the island will retain its attractiveness and splendour as a tourist destination,” the solon said.

Duterte’s remarks on BIDA came two months after he extended the term of the Boracay IATF, formed in May 2018 to oversee the rehabilitation of world-famous island.

Through Executive Order No. 115, the Boracay IATF’s validity is now until May 8, 2021.

In April 2018, Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay for six months to pave way for its environmental rehabilitation, citing that it has become a cesspool.

It opened in October 2018, however, the island closed anew amid the COVID-19 community quarantine protocols.

Boracay only reopened to Western Visayas tourists last June 16 after it was placed under modified general community quarantine where travel for leisure is allowed.

2020 SONA BORACAY CLOSURE BORACAY INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE DENR RODRIGO DUTERTE ROY CIMATU
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