Why Boracay Island Is Put Under State of Calamity
It's your fault!
That’s my personal reaction to all those affected by the temporary closure of Boracay Island. It’s not that I’m being mean to you. It’s just that I felt so bad at how you abused the island paradise. You have enjoyed and gained much from the tourism business there. But you didn’t mind ruining the very source of your livelihood.
It’s your fault, most commercial establishments and residents of Boracay! For being irresponsible in disposing of your waste products. For ignoring the use of the proper sewerage system.
It’s your fault, local government units of Malay, Aklan! How could you issue building permits to establishments that don’t comply with proper sewerage system?
It’s your fault, local unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)! How could you allow the commercial establishments to indiscriminately destroy the rock formations of the island so they can put up structures on them? Why did you allow them to encroach the wetlands?
Now, why do you whine about the closure? Why would you feel bad when President Rodrigo Duterte called Boracay Island a “cesspool”? Had you been conscious enough in taking care of the places and sources of your livelihood and business you would not have experienced being out of work. Had you been compliant with environmental laws, rules, and regulations, you would still have enjoyed a flourishing business. Boracay Island wouldn’t have been closed for rehabilitation. Now that you feel the pinch of suddenly being out of work, you began grumbling, accusing the government of unfairness.
Why Boracay Island is closed for rehabilitation
When President Duterte said your place is a “cesspool”, he has valid reasons to say so. The investigation and validation reports conducted by an inter-agency task force revealed these horrifying truths.
A high concentration of fecal coliform is found in the eastern side of Boracay Island, particularly in the Bolabog beaches. And this is due to the insufficient sewerage line and illegal disposal of untreated wastewater into the beach. The tests performed on the waters in Bolabog on March 6 - 10, 2018 revealed that there is a consistent failure of the residents and commercial establishments in complying with acceptable water standards. Whereas the standard level is set at 400 most probable number (MPN)/100 ml., the tests showed an average result of 18,000 MPN/100 ml.
Of the 51 commercial establishments near the shores of Boracay Island, only 14 are compliant with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act.
The non-compliant commercial establishments and most residences fail to connect to the designated sewerage system of Boracay Island. Therefore, their waste products are not disposed of properly, which is a violation of the environmental law, rules, and regulations.
Direct discharge of wastewater near the shore has resulted in the algal bloom and coral deterioration, factors that may have contributed to the reduction of the source of sand and cause erosion.
The insufficient sewerage and waste management system plus the indiscriminate abuse of the environment have contributed much to the destruction of the ecological balance of the island. Thus, resulting in major damage to natural resources and property. Not to mention the normal way of life of the people living there.
Concrete structures and tourist facilities illegally encroach at least 5 of the nine wetlands in Boracay Island.
I could enumerate more violations. But these items alone are beyond alarming. It’s but fitting for President Duterte to declare a state of calamity in the island of Boracay. It’s but wise to do the repair and rehabilitation of the island paradise now than later.
I hope to see justice being served over the destruction of the popular tourist destination. May the people responsible for the mess get the punishment they deserve. At the same time, I hope other tourist destinations in the Philippines and businesses learn a lesson from Boracay Island.
I’m optimistic that after the rehabilitation, Boracay Island will again get back up to its top position among the best tourism destinations in the world.