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The almost mystical Isla Gigantes (right photo) in the northern town of Carles, Iloilo was recently visited by DENR 6 Regional Director Jim O Sampulna (left, left photo) for reconnaissance survey and ground verification. Left photo shows Director Sampulna discussed with Ronnie Esposado (right, left photo) of CENRO Sara the whole map of the municipality of Carles including the mainland, coastal barangays and islets and water bodies determining its corresponding identified coordinates and land classification.

 

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'Tropical Design' in Boracay Pushed

The Municipal Planning and Urban Design Guidelines Review Committee (MPUDGRC) created by the local government of Malay, Aklan under Executive Order No. 10 signed by then Acting Mayor Abram Sualog, mandates the review of plans for the construction of new structures or renovations to be done on buildings in Boracay Island, as well as the inspection of the progress of developments to ensure that they follow the island’s “tropical design” rules.

            The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) believes that the “tropical design” will be the new branding of the islands’ infrastructures to the tourism industry. Aside from this, the design that will be done on the existing buildings shall be environment-friendly while at the same time promote a local culture. Thus, this may add as an additional attraction in the island aside from its famous turquoise water and powdery-white sand.

The ordinance emphasizes the use of wood, bamboo, "stone elements," non-combustible thatched roofing, and earth-tone colors as exterior and interior paint for structures.

It also calls for the integration of design elements such as large windows to allow for natural lighting and cooling, high ceilings for better air circulation, tropical elements in building entrances, and landscaped areas with local/native trees and plants.

The guidelines also require the use of ancient script “Baybayin” as the main language for signages, with translations in English and other languages as needed.

The guidelines were issued a few months after the reopening of the island paradise in October. It was shut down for six months last year for rehabilitation, after President Rodrigo Duterte sounded the alarm on environmental degradation and overdevelopment on the island.

The DENR 6 is glad to hear such news, as it would support Boracay’s carrying capacity by using light materials instead of heavy-concrete one in building establishments at the island.  

Furthermore, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu noted that the whole rehabilitation keeps getting better during its first year.

The highest coliform level recorded for the past months was only 40 most probable number (mpn) per 100 milliliters. It passed the safe level of 100  mpn/ml for Class SB water that is suitable for swimming, skin diving and other recreational activities.

Aside from that, Secretary Cimatu also said that there is “no algae year-round”, indicating that the rehabilitation effort had paid off. Fifty one (51) establishments along the white beach now have their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) while others are now connected to the sewer line.

Meanwhile, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) celebrated a week-long “Sustainability Week” dubbed as #LoveBOracay, which is a celebration of the one year Boracay Closure. The activities run from April 26-May 1, 2019 and focused on the need to keep Boracay Island sustainable.  

Food fest, exhibits, drone festival, ocean jams, sustainable talks and clean ups were the activities done for the whole week.

            DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Fransisco E. Milla, Jr. said that aside from the branding design this may help the environmental concerns of the island. “This (tropical design) will help the island to breathe freely from heavy constructions. Aside from that, this will help ease the burden on the island’s carrying capacity and pollution, from air conditioned-concrete buildings in the island,” RED Milla said.

 

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