By Louine Hope Conserva, Correspondent
BORACAY, MALAY — Accreditation for establishments in Boracay that are compliant with all environmental and legal requirements will be released beginning Aug. 16, in time for the October 26 reopening of the island tourist destination.
The accreditation, which will come from the Department of Tourism (DoT), will serve as the final control seal for determining which businesses would be allowed to operate after the island’s six-month closure for rehabilitation work.
“No DoT accreditation, no opening of establishments for tourism activities,” DoT-Western Visayas Regional Director Helen J. Catalbas said in an interview.
She explained that they will use as basis the final report of the multi-agency Boracay Inspection Committee, which is in charge of checking compliance to all national and local requirements.
The DoT held a meeting with Boracay stakeholders last July 25 for updates and preparations for the reopening.
Maylynn “Nenette” Aguirre-Graf, a member of the municipal council of Malay and president of the Boracay Foundation Inc., said it was a good meeting because it gave the business sector and residents an opportunity to express their concerns, particularly on the requirements for accreditation.
“Because whether they accept it or not, we live here and we are the ones who are privy (to) what needs to be done,” she said.
Ms. Graf also said that they are relieved that the government has finally released a clear list of requirements after a period of confusion since the island’s closure last April 26.
The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force will set up a one-stop shop composed of member agencies where establishments can get their various compliance certificates.
Representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the DoT will be present at the center.
“The one-stop shop is part of the government’s assistance to establishments in observing a ‘No compliance, No operations’ policy upon the reopening of Boracay,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, chair of the task force.
Mr. Cimatu said the center will temporarily be located at the DENR operation center in Casa Pillar, but a final venue will be decided upon and opened this week.
The DENR chief said they already have the data on compliant and non-compliant businesses, which will be subject to a final validation.
“So if they are already compliant, they can go to the venue to secure their clearances. The three member agencies will schedule a visit to these establishment to validate their compliance,” he said.