Diaper buried in Boracay beachfront recovered, DENR says
In this Aug. 15, 2018 photo, Boracay officials are removing the cordon from the area where the alleged defecation incident occurred.
Better Boracay/Facebook

Diaper buried in Boracay beachfront recovered, DENR says

(Philstar.com) - August 18, 2019 - 3:18pm

MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Sunday said authorities have recovered the diaper buried in the white sand of the newly rehabilitated Boracay island.

"Masaya po tayo at maayos na ito at maibabaon na rin sa limot ang problemang ito," Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda was quoted as saying in a dzBB radio interview.

(We are happy that this is resolved and we can now bury this problem.)

Last Wednesday, a portion of the island’s Station 1 was closed for clean-up after a video of a foreign tourist letting her son defecate in the waters circulated online.

READ: Part of Boracay beach closed off for poop cleanup

The video showed the woman, believed to be a Chinese tourist, washing her son’s buttocks at the shore while another woman was seen burying the diaper.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu then ordered the temporary closure. He lifted the cordon and the swimming ban on Thursday afternoon after the island's water passed the coliform test.

“The coliform test for water samples taken on August 14, 2019 by EMB-R6 showed safe levels at >1 mpn/100 ml (where the standard is set at not exceeding 100mpn/100ml),” the DENR said.

Antiporda, however, said they are still identifying the foreign tourists who violated the environmental laws of Boracay.

“Until now hindi po natin ito makumpirma dahil hindi po ito masyadong nakuhanan ng video pero alam po natin na Asian po ito,” the DENR undersecretary said.

(Until now we have not yet confirmed the identity because the video was't able to clearly capture it but we know that they're Asian.)

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Department of Tourism is already in coordination with tour operators to determine the identity of the offenders and hold them liable.

Meanwhile, the DENR reiterated that following the “pooping incident” it would intensify its information drive on the rules and regulations in place at the world-famous island.

Natividad Bernardino, Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group head and also a DENR official, said that the defecation incident is a wake-up call for them.

She said that local and foreign tourists shall be encouraged to uphold the government’s advocacy “for sustainable tourism and to observe the rules and regulations being implemented while enjoying the island paradise.”

“We are planning to give pamphlets through the airline on the do’s and don’ts on the island especially on the proper way to throw garbage and the policy against defecation at the Boracay beach,” Bernardino said.

She added that the BIARMG is also mulling the inclusion of other foreign languages in the signage installed at the beachfront against littering, smoking and carrying of glass bottles, among others.

Bernardino said that the majority of foreign visitors on the island are from China and South Korea.

“Considering the great proportion of Chinese and Korean visitors relative to the total number of Boracay’s visitors, we should now perhaps include Chinese and Korean languages in the signages, which presently carry warnings only in English,” the DENR official said.

The BIARMG is mandated to monitor Boracay’s rehabilitation which includes regular water quality assessment on the beach and the road construction being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways, among others.

Boracay has been closed to the public for six months last year to pave way for its rehabilitation and ecological restoration. It reopened in October 2018, with stiffer rules set for visitors. — Rosette Adel

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