Boracay task force sets guidelines to sustain island rehab

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THESE new guidelines set provisions for sewage management, traffic alleviation, and, most significantly, a cap on the number of people allowed in Boracay at any one time. — PHILSTAR

By Anna Gabriela A. Mogato

THE Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has set the guidelines for the island’s continued rehabilitation, following its formal opening on Oct. 26.

“We cannot and will not let the influx of people destroy Boracay again or undo all the improvements and innovations that we have introduced and will be introducing,” said Task Force Chief and Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

Mr. Cimatu said that these guidelines will be turned into resolutions by government agencies and adopted into ordinances by the local government unit.

Under the accepted guidelines, the taskforce has approved the use of electric vehicles, set the moratorium for water sports and building new establishments, while prohibiting casinos and online gambling businesses on the island.

They have also set provisions for sewege management among small and large resorts, and a revised traffic scheme to alleviate Boracay’s notorious congestion issues.

Most significantly, these guidelines also limit the number of people allowed to stay on the island, tourists and workers alike.

A study by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau found that Boracay’s capacities can can only accomodate 54,945 people at any one time.

That number breaks down to 19,215 tourists, and 35,730 residents, migrants, and stay-in workers.

Prior to Boracay’s closure, its population already exceeded its carrying capacity by almost 30% at 70,700.

The BIATF is currently working on a relocation facility for Boracay-based employees in nearby Aklan, as well as a transportation system to take workers from the mainland to Boracay.