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Strike ‘balance’ on Boracay’s tourism reopening




AERIAL shot shows the extent of the damage caused by the Boracay fire. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SEN. BONG GO's OFFICE

Having seen the destruction wrought by a fire that ravaged parts of Boracay, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged all stakeholders in the global tourism magnet to balance efforts to jumpstart its economy and ecology with protecting lives.

Boasting of powdery white sand, Boracay has slowly been opened to tourism starting this month amid the coronavirus pandemic that practically crippled the sources of livelihood of residents as the national government put into effect drastic quarantine measures.

A six-month clean-up program by the Duterte administration also closed Boracay to tourists starting in  April of 2018.

“Boracay has now been opened but I urge everyone to follow the regulations so we can protect your health and sources of income,” said Go, who provided relief assistant to fire victims on Thursday in Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Malay, Aklan.

“It’s important that we return to normal your livelihood but it’s more important that we protect the life of every Filipino,” he added.

The fire that struck Sitio Ambulong destroyed about 50 houses and displaced 200 residents.

Boracay’s reopening is a result of a special meeting by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force led by its chair, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, together with the secretaries of the Department of Interior and Local Government, and Department of Tourism, and the provincial government of Aklan.

Among the measures imposed by the council was the “Test Before Travel” rule which requires all visitors to have a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test result 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to the island.

Due to limited public transportation and the need for local residents to commute to work, Go distributed bicycles to select beneficiaries.
Go also gave away tablets to another set of recipients to support their children’s education.