THE POSSIBLE opening of Boracay Island ahead of the October schedule would depend on the stakeholders’ cooperation in the government’s rehabilitation efforts, according to Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.
Citing an example, Mr. Cimatu, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said Stella Hotel Boracay over the weekend promised to demolish its 12-room property after the establishment was found to have encroached the road easement along Bulabog beach on the western side of the island.
“We could have [destroyed] it before, but we gave them due process. Now we can complete the road network, and close the main road so that the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) can finish everything they need to do for the road widening,” he added.
Upon demolition, the DPWH will be able to continue with the construction of the circumferential road, an alternative route to the main road.
The low-rise hotel is a subsidiary of luxury chain hotel Astoria, which also owns two other resorts along the White Beach in Balabag.
Mr. Cimatu earlier noted that the quick improvements on the island within a few months of rehabilitation work would mean the government can open Boracay’s shores to tourists ahead of schedule.
On Tuesday, various fishermen and environmental groups picketed in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) main compound in Quezon City, condemning the closure of the tourist destination.
The protesters also called for the lifting of the Boracay closure, while also criticizing the alleged construction of a resort-casino on the island.
In the meantime, the DENR is also seeking to restore six out of the nine identified wetlands in Boracay.
Boracay is on a six-month closure starting April 26 after the President dubbed the popular tourist destination a “cesspool.” — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato