Extend Boracay closure if not all goals are met – Rep. Teves

Ralf Rivas

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Extend Boracay closure if not all goals are met – Rep. Teves
Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves says Boracay's reopening should be put on hold if the government cannot fix all of the island's problems within 6 months

MANILA, Philippines– “I don’t care if it will last two years. Do not open Boracay unless everything is finished.”

These were the strong words of Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves for Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu over the controversial 6-month closure of Boracay. (READ: Boracay no longer a cesspool – Cimatu)

Teves slammed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over the agency’s murky plans after Boracay opens on October 26.

For instance, Cimatu confided that they have yet to determine the carrying capacity of Boracay, despite closing the island for over 2 months already.

The DENR said that the only have “preliminary” findings. For instance, around 12,500 people are allowed to swim in the island, with each person having an area of at least 15 square meters. 

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said academics are still studying the issue.

“Unless we know [the carrying capacity], we cannot move forward,” Teves said during the house natural resources committee inquiry over the matter.

The issue does not end there. Teves said after determining the carrying capacity, the DENR must then determine the number of rooms allowed per hotel. Determining the number of rooms allocated per establishment would also be another challenge.

Meanwhile, Boracay Water admitted that all establishments cannot be connected to the sewage system before the opening of Boracay on October 26.

Boracay Water Chief Operating Officer Joseph Michael Santos said it would take “more than a year” to connect all establishments. Moreover, he revealed that 61% of the island has been connected to the sewer network. They aim for full coverage by 2022.

When asked if all establishments along the busy areas of Boracay can have a proper sewages, Santos said they would compel all establishments to have their own treatment facility or connect them with existing lines.

Meanwhile, ANGKLA Representative Jess Manalo recommended to Cimatu to put an environmental and economic manager once Boracay is opened to the public to sustain the rehabilitation efforts. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.