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Boracay rehabilitation continues

Established in 2018, the task force was ordered to facilitate Boracay’s rehabilitation efforts and ensure its ecological sustainability as one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

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President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the term of the inter-agency task force leading the rehabilitation of Boracay island until June 2022, citing the need to continue its programs which have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Duterte on Tuesday signed Executive Order (EO) 147 which stated that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) would be deemed dissolved next year unless extended or sooner terminated by the President.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the imposition of community quarantine measures have resulted in unprecedented delays and massive disruptions on the implementation of critical programs and projects, based on the key thematic areas of the Boracay Action Plan,” Duterte wrote in his EO.

Extending the BIATF’s term would ensure the completion of the “remaining milestones” of the Boracay Action Plan until 2022, the President added.

The Chief Executive’s latest order amended EO 115 which stated that the group would last only until 8 May 2021.

Established in 2018, the task force was ordered to facilitate Boracay’s rehabilitation efforts and ensure its ecological sustainability as one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

It was also expected to enforce laws and control pollution in Boracay to safeguard the island famous for its long coast of white sand.

The task force is chaired by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and counts the secretaries of Justice, Public Works, Social Welfare, Labor, and Trade departments as its members.

The chiefs of the Philippine National Police and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, as well as the governor of Aklan and the mayor of the municipality of Malay, are also part of the BIATF.

Achievements
Duterte, in his EO 147, cited the task force’s accomplishments to “reverse” Boracay’s ecological degradation.

All beaches in the island, except the Tulubhan outfall, were now “suitable for recreational activities,” the President wrote in his order, quoting the group’s report.

About 80 percent of Boracay establishments were now compliant with beach easement rules as of April, he added.

The task force, Duterte said, has also filed 160 cases against illegal occupants of Boracay forestlands and 262 cases against establishments for pollution.

Two of nine wetlands in the island have been “fully recovered” from illegal settlers, he also noted.

Boracay’s waste management plan, cave management plan, and drainage improvement project were also ongoing, the President said.

The famous destination was closed to travelers in 2018 as the government launched a six-month cleanup drive in a bid to restore its condition after years of environmental degradation due to the steady flow of tourists.

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