The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the lead department of Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF), is determined to finish the rehabilitation of the island before its extended terms expires, this after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte extended the BIATF life until by June 2022 through Executive Order (EO) 147 dated September 13, 2021 .
"We must ensure that we have the proper mechanisms in place, so that our hard work and efforts would not turn to naught," DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said during the BIATF Principals recent meeting in Boracay Island.
“We hope that what we leave behind for Boracay would be those that are worthy to be sustained or built upon by those succeeding us,” he added.
During the meeting BIATF Chair Secretary Cimatu and co-chair Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año reported remarkable improvement of the island of Boracay, after the island had undergone rehabilitation last 2018.
The water quality in the beaches and other water sampling stations of Boracay, from 900 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100ml) down to 45 MPN/100 ml on average.
A total of 282 of the 339 structures including commercial, residential, and other establishments encroaching on the 25+5-meter beach easement have been demolished with only just few remaining houses left for demolition.
The rehabilitation of adopted wetlands are still on progress, while Wetland No. 9 located in Brgy. Manoc-mamoc is almost cleared of illegal settlers except for one remaining house.
For the enforcement of the 12-meter road right of way for the widening and improvement of the Boracay Circumferential Road, 86% of establishments or 1,057 of 1,230 total structures are now compliant.
Aside from the progress of the rehabilitation, BIATF Co-chair and DOT Secretary Puyat said that the COVID 19 vaccination of the island’s residents and tourism workers is expected to react 100% by the end of October 2021 thus, the first tourism area to have a fully vaccinated residents and tourism workers.
Almost 92% of the tourism workers including tricycle drivers, souvenir shop personnel, and massage therapists have received their first dose or 11,779 of 12,809 workers while 77.87 percent or 19,039 of 24,451 residents have received their first dose.
“Boracay Island Rehabilitation is one of our major accomplishments here in DENR 6. We have a visual proof that this rehabilitation is a success,” DENR 6 RED Duran said.
“We will not stop here, this environment protection will continue for our future generations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the BIATF member and Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores said that Boracay Island will soon accept fully vaccinated individuals without needing to secure a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result. It is one way of the Local Government of Aklan to regain the low tourism industry the island and the province as well.