Boracay task force seeks 1-year extension

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has sought an extension of its term for another year pending the creation of a permanent body that will oversee the island’s sustainable development.

Environment Secretary and BIATF chairman Roy Cimatu said the extension would allow the task force to complete its projects that have been stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cimatu said a BIATF resolution seeking the extension was submitted to President Duterte for his approval.

The task force, which is co-chaired by the Departments of Tourism and the Interior and Local Government, was created under Executive Order 53 issued on May 8, 2018, the term of which was supposed to end in 2020.

On May 11 last year, the President issued EO 115 extending the term of the BIATF until May 8 this year.

“We have been hoping that all the good work we have done in Boracay would be continued and sustained by a more permanent body,” Cimatu said during a recent meeting of the task force.

The bill creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) is pending at the House of Representatives.

The BIATF submitted its position paper explaining its preference for its proposed bill over seven other versions submitted to the legislative chamber.

Cimatu said the BIDA should take over the current functions of the task force, noting that the limited carrying capacity of Boracay “does not leave space for further development that envisions enterprise and business that may adversely impact the island and its ecosystems.”

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