THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the initial days of the Boracay rehabilitation have been marked by cooperation between the government and the stakeholders.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was quoted as saying during an interview with government radio that the level of cooperation was unexpected following the closure of the island for six months starting Thursday.
“I was surprised. They understood and accepted the fact that we have to clean it up and that they have to show their cooperation,” he added.
Mr. Cimatu said around 98% of stakeholders volunteered to demolish on their own around 300 illegally built structures obstructing the roads.
“Around 90% of them gave their waiver for us to proceed with the demolition. Before that they were threatening to file cases against us,” he added.
He also urged displaced workers to register with the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s cash-for-work program to rehabilitate the wetlands.
Only four out of nine wetlands have been left after informal settlers inhabited the wetlands, affecting the natural water filter of the island.
“Unfortunately, there are buildings on the wetlands and informal settlers have built houses beside them. This has resulted in poor water drainage,” Mr. Cimatu said. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato