Good Job, DENR On Boracay’s Recovery!
Through the verbal orders of President Rodrigo Duterte last year, Boracay Island was closed to tourism due to his description that, “Boracay is a cesspool!” Immediately, even with the uproar of the commercial establishments and locals in the island from its closure, the different Executive Departments that were tasked had to carry on to implement the orders of the President. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had spearheaded the group of other Departments of the government in seeing to it that the problem in Boracay will be solved. After about six months, before the end of last year, Boracay Island was re-opened to the public and to tourism. Much had been said and published in the daily printed media as well in the Social Media about the positive results that came up and instituted during those times that the island was closed.
Last May of this year, I had the chance to visit the island since it was re-opened and I was impressed about the developments and improvements made, although some infrastructural projects were still being done at that time. There is a big difference from the time I last visited the island in the later months of 2017 after my runners finished that year’s edition of the Antique 100-Mile Endurance Race. The main road on the island had been widened and concreted with wider sidewalks with more vehicles and vans plying along the said road. The beach had been rejuvenated with more sand coming from the sea and the beach portion became wider as there were no longer furnitures; table and chair sets; and the strict removal of lots of shades/extensions from the commercial establishments/hotels along the beach area. In the early morning of the day, I would see a truck of the island’s Sanitary Services to be sucking the drainage from the underground sewerage system at the middle of the main road system and I was informed that this is done everyday. I was told also that every establishment in the area had to pay a regular amount of fee for this purpose. Cleanliness is very imminent in the area as more trash bins had been placed along the roads as well as in strategic places along the beach. A truck that collects these trash from the said bins had been regularly seen along the main road and on the beach.
Last month, after the conduct of the 7th edition of the Antique 100-Mile Endurance Run, I had the chance to visit the island again for this year. There are more more tourists going in and going out of the island was observed as compared from my visit last May. Everything was done in an orderly manner from the time tourists are being dropped off at the Caticlan Seaport up to the time they are brought to the place where they made their reservation for their stay in the island. Everybody visiting the island should have a prior reservation to a hotel or inn in the island for them to be transported or allowed to board any boat to the said island. Only the locals and employees of the government and commercial establishments in the island are exempted from this regulation. With the assistance of the Philippine Army unit deployed in the island, the runners and I were given VIP attention up to the time we reached our respective billeting area in the island. Since we arrived in the island on the early morning of Sunday, we had our Brunch in one of the popular local restaurants instead of having the usual “boodlefight”. After lunch, we went to the Beach Area; took some pictures; and just watched the people around us. Some of the runners had their recovery walks along the beach.
The following day, I made a leisure walk from Station 3 (southernmost part) all the way to the northern most beach area of the island and I was able to see more hotels and building structures that were closed; removed and destroyed as a result of the strict implementation of Environmental Laws in the area. I will let the following pictures speak for themselves.
The following are the Rules and Regulations at the Beach of Boracay Island:
- No Littering.
- Strictly No Smoking
- No Drinking Of Alcohol.
- No Illegal Drugs
- No Excessively Loud Music
- No Pets
- No Fire Dancing
- No Building of Commercial Sandcastles.
- No Strctures and Furniture
All these Rules and Regulations are being being strictly implemented by the PNP deployed in the beach area. I have observed in my latest visit to the island that there are roving PNP personnel, as well as, stationary PNP personnel in pairs in every 20 meters along the beach area.
The “closing and cleaning” of Boracay that resulted to its “rest and recovery” is an example of political will of the President Duterte to order something for the good of the environment; local populace and for the instrumentalities of the government to implement such order. I heard that appropriate administrative and criminal charges had been filed to those government people who allowed such environmental laws to be violated, to include those commercial establishments that violated such building permit/s and environmental laws. In my conversation with some of the owners of the establishments who became as my friends when I was still in the military service, they said that business is getting better after it was re-opened to the public and they expect that the beauty and orderliness in the island shall be maintained or even improved as more infrastructural projects will be completed this year. My personal congratulations is directed to Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for leading TEAM of the government departments for a job well done! Truly, Boracay is an international tourist destination that our country should be proud of. We should preserve the beauty of this island.