PRIOR to the much-awaited reopening of the Boracay Island resort paradise on October 26, the government will conduct a dry run or partial reopening from October 15 to 25.
According to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, government agencies in charge of the six-month rehabilitation and clean-up of the beach resort will closely monitor the 11-day “practice run.” They would be allowed to test all systems that are being put in place after the much-needed closure.
The agencies will also see to it if the guidelines on compliance and other important matters related to the reopening are effectively implemented to protect the world-famous island resort from unsustainable tourism practices.
Cimatu appealed for cooperation and understanding from all stakeholders and local tourists who will be among the firsts to experience a reinvigorated Boracay.
“We will be monitoring a lot of things, from managing the entrance, exit, and stay of the tourists, to enforcing rule of law on establishments that have been found to be non-compliant to laws and regulations,” Cimatu said.
The “no compliance, no operation” policy for establishments will be strictly enforced not only in the 11-day dry run but also during and beyond the scheduled formal reopening.
“We will not hesitate to close hotels and other establishments that would operate without clearance from the BIATF (Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force),” the DENR chief said.
Tourists planning to visit the reinvigorated island should see to it they book their accomodations with compliant hotels and similar establishments in which the Department of Tourism will release the complete list.
The DENR will deploy at least 30 environmental enforcers to check on Boracay’s water quality, solid waste management, drainage and sewage systems and occupation on forest areas and wetlands.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have committed to help maintain peace and order on the island during the dry run leading to the October 26 reopening.
“We are trying to correct the mistakes of the past, and we have succeeded in finding a solution to cleaning the environment. We do not want to backslide on what we have started,” Cimatu said.
The BIATF recently approved a set of guidelines to ensure Boracay’s environment will be sustained and protected from the expected massive influx of local and foreign tourists.
The guidelines include a regulation on tourist arrivals and number of persons allowed to stay in Boracay, in accordance with the island’s carrying capacity.