Iloilo City—The Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group has asked the mayor of Malay town to stop the collection of pontoon (floating bridges) payment from Boracay Island visitors.
BIARMG chief Natividad Bernardino sent a formal communication to Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista on Thursday to stop the collection of P30 per person for the use of two pontoons.
She said the fee collection has yet to be approved by the National Task Force Boracay principals, including Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.
“The problem there is it did not go (through) the task force’s deliberation and approval. That was the proposal of the local government unit, but they went ahead with it,” Bernardino said.
Though it got the nod from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Malay, Bernardino said anything done in Boracay must still be consulted with the task force since the island is under rehabilitation.
Bautista has raised the concern during the meeting last Nov. 26 but was told to wait for the principals’ decision.
“He (mayor) was told to justify the basis of the rate,” she said, noting that the next principals’ meeting is scheduled either in the last week of January or the first week of February.
In a separate interview, Bautista said the local government unit has stopped the collection of the fees on Saturday.
Of the P30 fee, P4.50 goes to the LGU while the rest are shared by Manocmanoc and Balabag villages and the private company owner.
The collection of the fees started on Dec. 21 last year, Bautista said.
“There were questions that it (collection of fees) was not approved by the principals so I stopped the collection of fees but the operation (use of pontoons) will continue,” he said.
The pontoon, measuring 100 meters from the shoreline, is used near the boat stations on the white beach.