Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday said he has high hopes for the newly launched ecotourism tracking tool that would help monitor and evaluate activities in ecotourism sites to prevent another Boracay-like crisis.
“I am confident the ETT will enable not just the DENR but all stakeholders to efficiently assess to which degree an ecotourism site is managed according to a set of sustainability indicators,” he said.
“I have no doubt it will support proactive management of all ecotourism sites in the country,” he added.
EET was developed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau to help systemize the conservation and protection of ecotourism destinations prone to environmental degradation.
It was tasked to conduct a study that would determine the capacity of ecotourism sites, including the pollution-challenged Boracay Island, which was ordered closed to tourists for six months since April 26.
According to Cimatu, Boracay Island suffered from environmental degradation due to “lack of guidelines, standards or certification mechanisms towards its effective management as an ecotourism area.”
Meanwhile, the Labor department said hundreds of workers who were displaced by the rehabilitation of Boracay Island will receive financial support of more than P4,000 a month for six months or equivalent to 50 percent of the prevailing minimum wage in the region, while retained workers will get at least 25 percent of their minimum wage.
The DOLE made the announcement after it issued the guidelines on the implementation of the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP) for formal sector workers affected by the rehabilitation of Boracay.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said that Department Order 191, the AMP which falls under the Boracay Emergency Employment Program (BEEP) would contribute to ease the situation of affected workers in the formal sector.
The BEEP-AMP is a safety net program providing formal sector workers with integrated and comprehensive package of assistance such as financial support, employment facilitation, and training.
He said affected workers will get P4,205.50 every month for a maximum period of six months, while retained workers who do not receive regular wage, will receive P2,102.75, and shall be non-conditional to be provided in lump sum covering three months.
Also, under the employment facilitation component, the DOLE will refer beneficiaries to the nearest Public Employment Service Office (PESO) for employment facilitation.
Affected workers will be provided access to available job opportunities suitable to their qualifications through job matching, referral, and placement services, either local or overseas employment, employment coaching, and labor market information.
The training component, on the other hand, aims to give affected workers with appropriate training to enhance their skills, competitiveness, and employability, as administered by relevant government agencies.
On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said affected residents and informal workers in the island of Boracay can now avail of the cash-for-work program.
The beneficiaries from the three villages of Balabag, Manok-Manok and Yapak can access CFW program for a thirty-day period. They will receive 100% of the regional wage rate amounting to P323.50 per day or P9,705 per month.
In addition, two types of work were classified under the program which include labor works such as digging, dredging, desilting canals and drainage systems, planning trees, clearing pathways, shelter facility repair, demolition of illegal infrastructure, clearing debris, garbage collection, installation of support facilities or technical or office work such as assisting in enumeration, task profiling, report preparation, preparation of replenishment and liquidation report.