There are rumblings suggesting establishments on Boracay are set to open to the public by mid-October – six month from the day President Rodrigo Duterte closed the island for rehabilitation after suffering neglect from local and national environmental authorities.
Island residents are clamoring, upon reopening, that the same environmental officials previously dispatched by the government are never seen again. Why? Those are who locals are blaming for destroying the island’s environment. In addition, they also want local officials prosecuted, claiming they took advantage of resources (everything from business establishments to tricycle operators). A government official advised, it is up to the national government whether the “evil faces” are prosecuted and those who wish to proceed with such action should send formal complaints to the Office of the President.
In the past Boracay was known as a “party island,” which is where it earned its millions upon millions of pesos. With plans to move the party away from the shore, many find it a more “sensible” idea and one that will preserve the beach as it should be. Recently, the Department of Tourism (DOT) released its list of hotels and resorts that will be permitted to reopen and it did not even contain the most luxurious establishments. Does this mean they were unable to conform to new policies and continue to violate environmental laws?
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assured the world Boracay will be a new island experience for everyone. She has been seen as a new figure to provide a light for tourism promotion.
Meanwhile, DOT-Region VI director, Atty. Helen J. Catalbas, has added tourism promotion as part of the region’s economic progress. She is considered one of the better regional directors.
This will be an exciting October. Boracay will reopen, Bacolod City will celebrate the annual MassKara Festival, the Sports Tourism Awards will be held at the Savoy Hotel Manila.
This column greets Ping Jimenea, Rene Cortum, Edgar Tiu, Ponso Tan, Art Colmedora, Richard Oquendo, Joemarie Vargas, Joseph Teruel, Jun Lagarde, Manny Parroco, Manu Gidwani, Marilou Montalbo, May Castro, Femmy Lee Magbanue, Pastor Joe Ascalon, Archie Gupalor, Pipoy Olaira, Philip Garcia, and Manolet Lamata./WDJ