DENR suspends new development in Boracay

By KATHERINE ADRANEDA – Newly installed Environment Secretary Lito Atienza ordered Monday a six-month moratorium on new construction in world-famous Boracay in Aklan amid overcrowding on the resort island.

During a meeting with resort owners of the island at the sidelines of the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Senior Officials on Environment (ASOEN) in Boracay, Atienza also directed officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to prepare an environmental master plan to address the complaint of resort owners about the uncontrolled development of and migration into the island.

“In coordination with the local city council, we admonished them to immediately cause the passage of a resolution for the moratorium on all construction in Boracay, meaning there should be no more additional building permits or license for more infrastructure,” Atienza told The STAR in a telephone interview.

“The influx of people and development in the island have rendered facilities and utilities over-stretched, including sewage, water, and electricity,” he said.

Atienza said the moratorium on all construction in the island is needed for the government to introduce a new development plan for Boracay.

The master plan will be drawn up by the DENR after consultations with experts, resort owners, residents, and non-government organizations.

“The six-month total stop (of construction) is to let our people conduct a complete assessment of the whole situation from which to form an environmental master development plan which may be implemented after the moratorium,” Atienza explained.

He said the DENR will coordinate with local officials of Aklan and Philippine Tourism Authority, which is involved in the management and development of Boracay.

Dr. Orlando Sacay, former chairman of the Boracay Foundation Inc., said the water and sewer system in the island has reached its limit because of uncontrolled development and migration.

Sacay claimed that local residents are consuming half of the water available, limiting water for tourists.

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