The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 strongly advised the local government unit of Malay to continue observing the safety protocols in holding the community fireworks display to welcome the New Year 2023 in Boracay Island.

In a letter dated December 5, 2022, the LGU Malay in its request letter wrote: “The holiday season is here and we are anticipating an influx of tourists to spend their holiday vacation in the island. It is the responsibility of this Local Government Unit to create quality and memorable experience for tourists visiting Boracay Island as well as the local residents.” Then it continues: “The Boracay Foundation, Incorporated (BFI) requested for a 20-minute fireworks display to welcome the new year and the Local Government Unit of Malay is in full support of this initiative.”

DENR Region 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran clarified in its reply to the letter that his office “interposes no objection” on the conduct of the community fireworks display.

Director Duran, however, reminded the LGU of three things to observe, namely: 1. Conduct the activity 100 meters off-shore; 2. Use pyrotechnics for a much-safer activity as it can be used in a much closer proximity to the audience since the product is more controllable in nature. Pyro also produces almost zero debris and is usually used around stadiums and any area for dramatic effect; and, 3. Clean-up the area after the community fireworks display activity to keep the island safe. The clean-up would also mean tourists and residents should not leave wastes around the designated areas.

Moreover, as to sandcastle which is one of the tourist attractions in the island, Director Duran affirmed that the LGU-Malay has the right to “impose regulations on sandcastle building within the 25+5 beach easement and part of the forestland for protection purposes  under Presidential Proclamation 1064,” in a letter reply dated December 13, 2022.

Since sandcastle building are temporary structures and can be removed under natural coastal erosion, Director Duran said it can be allowed. However, such activity should be subjected to protective measures to prevent further degradation of the shoreline. Director Duran added that the LGU-Malay should strictly enforce the following measures, namely:

  1. Sandcastle builders must secure permit from the LGU of Malay.
  2. No minor should be allowed to engage in sandcastle building during school days.
  3. They should be registered under the Boracay Sandcastle Makers Association or any other duly recognized groups for proper identification and training.
  4. Sandcastle makers should always wear proper identification and uniforms.
  5. They shall only operate within duly identified areas within the beachfront of the island.
  6. Sandcastles shall not exceed the area of 5 meters and a height of 5 feet.
  7. No chemicals, cement, or any binding agent to improve the stability of the sandcastle shall be used except for seawater.
  8. Sand shall not be removed or transferred from one area to another for sandcastle building.
  9. Kerosene gas lamps, candles, or any other decorations/colorations that may contaminate the sand is prohibited.
  10. Sandcastle building shall be allowed from 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon.
  11. Areas where the sandcastle is built must be cleared and returned to its original state after the allotted period.
  12. No sandcastle building outside the designated areas for special occasions shall be allowed without proper clearance from the Local Government Unit of Malay.

“Boracay Island have always been fragile. Any island ecosystem is fragile. So all the safety protocols that were put in place even during the start of the island rehabilitation should be sustained. All for the good of the island and its people,” Director Duran said.