ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy Cimatu yesterday reiterated his call on establishments and the people in Boracay to strictly observe the rules and regulations imposed by the government as he ordered anew a crackdown on businesses that continue to operate without appropriate permits.
According to Cimatu, the effort put up by the inter-agency task force should not just go to waste due to these people who refuse to follow orders.
On Tuesday, the Boracay IATF through the local government of Malay, Aklan closed down 10 erring establishments for not complying with government laws.
These were the Bella’s Bar and Restaurant, Old Captain Cuisine, Ken Minimart, Ken St., Island Staff and Restaurant, Coco Spa, Kim Ji Man, W Hostel Boracay Dragon, VIP Souvenir Shop and YH World Network Service, Inc.
“I once said that Boracay will never be a ‘cesspool’ again, but we need all the support and cooperation of everybody to sustain the gains we have made from the massive rehabilitation we have done to the island. Let us continue to be guardians of the island and prevent it from sliding back,” Cimatu said.
Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Group general manager Natividad Bernardino, said the crackdown on the erring establishments was ordered by Cimatu in the wake of reports that Chinese businesses have proliferated in the island, with business name signage and restaurant menu written only in Chinese characters, and catering exclusively to Chinese tourists.
It was also observed that there was an increasing number of Chinese and Korean nationals working as tour guides, restaurant chefs and staff, Bernardo said.
On April 25, an Ad Hoc Committee was created to carry out the task of inspecting and looking into possible violations of these foreign-run businesses, including aliens staying and working in Boracay, without valid work permits and visa.
The committee was composed of representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Immigration, DENR and the local government of Malay, Aklan.
Bernardo said that from May 7 to May 9, the DILG-led Boracay Inspection Committee inspected a total of 49 establishments with foreign business name signage.
Of the number, 10 were found actively operating without mayor’s permits and another 14 had incomplete requirements from the LGU and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The list of non-compliant foreign-run businesses was endorsed by DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III to Malay Mayor Abram Sualog for the issuance of closure orders.
“We cannot allow flagrant violation by foreign nationals of our country’s laws and regulations, especially in the island which we have painstakingly rehabilitated,” Densing said.
Island tourism statistics revealed that foreign visitors in Boracay have been dominated by Chinese and Korean nationals, representing 56% and 37%, respectively, of the total number of foreign tourists from January to March of 2019. The rest came from the United States of America, Russia and United Kingdom.