President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the creation of a Boracay Inter-agency Task Force to review and consolidate existing master plans and formulate an action plan to reverse the degradation of the world-renowned island resort.
Duterte signed Executive Order No. 53 on May 8 or two weeks after Boracay was closed to tourists to give way to a six-month clean-up and rehabilitation works.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu has been appointed chairman while the secretaries of interior and tourism will serve as vice chairpersons.
Other members of the task force are the secretaries of justice, public works, social welfare, and trade; the respective heads of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the Philippine National Police; the governor of Aklan and mayor of Malay.
The task force will ensure that policies on Boracay are consistent with relevant laws, rules and regulations; review and consolidate existing master plans and formulate an action plan towards the sustainable tourism development of the island; and coordinate with concerned agencies and local government units (LGUs) on the immediate withholding or revocation of permits or licenses issued to any establishment or business.
It will also ensure that the concerned agency or LGUs undertake the appropriate measures relative to the violations of environment laws, including demolition, closure or cessation of business and/or filing of administrative action against erring persons or establishments; complete within six months from the effectivity of this order the evaluation of all building permits or licenses; and create committees or technical working groups that will address specific concerns relative to the implementation of the EO.
The task force has been directed to perform other duties that Duterte may order it to do.
According to the order, each task force member agency has been directed to perform their functions in accordance with their respective mandates.
Duterte has also instructed the task force to strictly enforce within six months a moratorium on the construction of new tourism and other business facilities and enterprises.
The task force shall review and recommend to the President the extension of the moratorium “if necessary.”
The famous tourist spot was closed to tourists on April 26, the same day Duterte signed a proclamation declaring a state of calamity in three barangays of Boracay.
Duterte had recently called Boracay a “cesspool” due to the sewage problem worsened by the island’s lack of drainage system and illegal structures.