MANILA — Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo on Wednesday affirmed “full support” to the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to impose a six-month ultimatum on fixing the problems of Boracay, reiterating that the massive cleanup is necessary to save the world-famous resort island.
“The massive clean-up of Boracay is a bitter pill that we have to swallow if we were to collectively save and sustain Boracay,” she said in a statement.
After Teo presented the problems that besiege the island at a Cabinet meeting last week, Duterte gave a six-month deadline to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to address the island’s issues.
The DENR has ordered the closure of some 200 tourism establishments in Boracay found violating environmental laws and regulation. For her part, Teo lauded the agency’s efforts saying it is “high time to order the closure.”
Areas of violation cited include easement as well as water and solid waste disposal, among others.
Teo said the DOT would continue to market the primary destinations and aggressively promote the emerging ones to ensure inclusive growth.
On Jan. 9, Teo together with DENR chief Roy Cimatu, conducted an ocular inspection in the island. Soon, the Tourism chief said they would visit Boracay for another inspection, this time, with DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.
Compliance Monitoring Office
Through its office in Western Visayas, the DOT confirmed that a Compliance Monitoring Office in Boracay Island will be established to assure tourism establishments are operating according to the standards set for the purpose of making the tourist spot “more competitive in the domestic and international markets.”
Teo has also ordered the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority (TIEZA), its infrastructure arm, to oversee the swift completion of the PHP716-million drainage project to address flooding in the area.
The tourism chief is hopeful that with full cooperation from all concerned, including business establishments and residents, Boracay will remain as a major employer and income generator of the country.
“We hope that efforts for Boracay clean-up will resonate to our private stakeholders in other destinations to ensure full compliance of environment and eco-tourism laws,” she said.
“From a tourism perspective, we should preserve the balance – let us not compromise the environment for economic gains.”
From her end, she reminded that “successful tourism is a shared responsibility.” PNA-northboundasia.com