Talking with an individual, once tagged “the second-most traveled person in the world,” he insisted, “Boracay is the best beach in the world.” Having visited every beach anybody has heard of, he still believes Boracay is the best. In contrast, President Rodrigo Duterte has recently expressed dismay over the present state of the beach, which earns billions for both national and local governments.
“Galit si Digong,” we said regarding his message.
People must understand the role of the Department of Tourism (DOT) is to market and promote attractions throughout the country. The role of developing infrastructure for tourism is conducted by the Tourism Infrastructure Economic Zone Authority (TIEZA), which pours billions into tourism projects across the country.
When it comes to the local infrastructure of Boracay, such as hotels, resorts, and other related establishments, that falls upon the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the municipal government of Malay, Aklan, where the island is located.
DOT has nothing to do with approving or clearing requests for structures for the island.
Many Boracay locals have been murmuring for decades about alleged abuses by regulatory groups. They complain many resorts are not complying with local environmental policies, with many claiming waste from such establishments are routed directly to the beach.
These observations are examples of alleged misdeeds by government officials; dismissive of existing environmental regulations. Residents also claim government officials and environmental agencies are fully aware of it and tolerate such practices.
Past presidents have never cared as much as Duterte.
The DOT is conducting its duties in a straightforward manner, while other government agencies are acting as crooks.
And what are local congressmen, governors, and mayors doing? Many are business-minded, which creates corruption – and they blame Duterte for going after them.
Kudos to DOT Secretary Wanda Teo for doing the whipping on her own turf; and this region is lucky to have an active and honest director, thank you DOT-Region VI director, Atty. Helen Catalbas, for your honesty in service.
To those who have destroyed Boracay, the whipping is coming from the president himself. Do not blame Duterte or the DOT; they are here to help, not destroy.
This column greets island hoppers and beach lovers of Boracay: Mae Tamayo-Panes, Desiree Segovia, Harry Fernan, Tibong Jardeleza, Juan Cua Locsin, King Fernan, Joann Yoshida, Charles Lim, Jade Durango, Leah Javellana, and Ronie Lopez./WDJ