CLARK, Pampanga— Upon President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s orders, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shall implement “immediate actions” to fix all Boracay issues within six months, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Tuesday.
Among these are pursuing establishments that violated the island’s laws, and the investigation of officials and others involved on granting these establishments permit to operate.
DOT Undersecretary Katherine De Castro, who was also present at the gathering said during discussions at the 22nd Cabinet Meeting in Malacanang Palace, Boracay environmental woes was the main issue the agency raised.
“The president gave six months to fix the problem of Boracay and he actually tasked both the DENR and the DILG to act on it,” she told reporters in Pampanga.
Should the six-month ultimatum lapse without the expected results, De Castro said “from the looks of it,” closure of the firms is one possible move.
Last Jan. 9, Teo and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu conducted an aerial inspection of Boracay and bared a draft Executive Order (EO) was created to recommend the creation of a new task force on Boracay “to address once and for all” the issues it face.
De Castro said Malacañang was now studying the draft but for the meantime, the immediate solution would be to task the two agencies to ensure laws were implemented.
“The president said they would review the Executive Order, he basically wants immediate action… he wants the environmental laws to be implemented right away so basically he’s giving a six month deadline to DENR and DILG to fix the problem of Boracay,” she said.
Almost 200 establishments in the island were listed for committing various offenses, she added. The list was now submitted to the president, De Castro said.
Aside from the violation of the 25+5 on easement rule, De Castro noted some of the violators were notorious for connecting illegally on Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority pipes for sewerage. Even worse were those that have no proper sewerage system.
“Lumalabas na yung kanilang waste sa dagat, not only sa dagat pati na sa roads (The wastes are getting into the water and even on roads),” she said.
“Call of action is to implement the law and run after those who may have done something,” she added. “Basically, (the president) was saying that the root cause of all the problems in Boracay is corruption.”