Citing the weak implementation of environment laws and the indifference to them by the people, Senator Cynthia Villar has pushed for the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority or BIDA to sustain the island’s rehabilitation by the administration.
In filing Senate bill 1914 or an “Act Creating the Boracay Island Development Authority,” Villar noted that despite landmark laws such as RA 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act” and RA 9275 or the “Philippine Clean Water Act,” the environment continued to suffer from degradation.
“Boracay Island, which is one of the best beaches in the world and considered a world-famous jewel of Philippine tourism, was not spared from environmental degradation,” said Villar as she sought the approval of her measure.
“Through the years, Boracay Island gained popularity and became a top tourism destination in the Philippines, thereby ushering in developments such as hotels, restaurants, bars and rental houses that were built over the island to provide accommodation for the growing number of tourists.”
But with the increasing number of tourists, it became unsustainable.
“The apathetic concern for the environment amid the thriving development on Boracay, along with the weak implementation of environment laws by authorities eventually led to the polluted Boracay Island then,” Villar said.
In 2018 there were several news reports exposing the environmental problems besetting Boracay , particularly the improper solid waste management and deficient sewerage system.
Due to the sorry state of the island’s sewerage system, President Rodrigo Duterte said “Boracay is a cesspool”.
The persistent environmental degradation of Boracay prompted the President to issue Proclamation. 475 on April 26, 2018, declaring a temporary closure of the island as a tourist destination for six months so it would be rehabilitated.
The President also issued Executive Order 53 creating the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force to ensure the rehabilitation and ecological sustainability of Boracay.
For the long-term sustainability and rehabilitation done on the island, the BIATF proposed the creation of BIDA attached to the Office of the President. It would promote and accelerate the sustainable development and balanced growth of Boracay Island.
The composition of BIDA would include representatives from the DENR, DILG, DOT, DPWH. DOH, DOJ, the Aklan Governor, the Malay mayor, all ex-officio members, a general manager to be appointed by the President and 2tworepresentatives from the private sector.
Earlier, Villar received a letter from DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu requesting her to sponsor the BIATF’s draft bill on the creation of BIDA.