After shutting down last April, resort island Boracay, located within the municipality of Malay, Aklan, reopened yesterday following a massive clean-up effort and implementation of reforms to ensure the locale, which was earlier tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as a “cesspool,” would not return to its former state.
Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat spoke during the reopening, where she credited “political will” for the development.
“Our concerted efforts have proven, once again, that change is indeed possible with strong political will,” she said.
The island’s resurrection also comes with a new set of rules intended to keep the place clean.
The tourist hotspot will now limit the number of visitors per day, require visitors to have accommodations booked before arriving, prohibit all water sports except for swimming, and large-scale parties will no longer be held.
Also banned are casinos, smoking, drinking, and open fires.
“As we welcome a better Boracay, the Department of Tourism urges everyone to be responsible tourists,” the cabinet official noted.
“The Boracay experience is the ultimate lesson in balancing development and protecting the environment,” she added. “The lessons learned here are not for Boracay alone but also for the other island destinations around our beautiful country.”
Last June, Thai officials shut down Maya Bay due to environmental damage caused by the influx of tourists. The famed beach was supposed to reopen this month as well, but local authorities extended the closure indefinitely./WDJ