April 17, 2018
Even if the closure of Boracay Island in Aklan has yet to take place, the interagency task force is eyeing the soft opening of the tourist destination by August provided at least 70 percent of the major road repair in the area is completed.
"If we hit the 70 percent completion rate of the road widening project to 12 meters, including that of the new drainage pipeline, then that can be a signal that we can have a soft opening by most probably by August at the earlier," said Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III in a joint press conference in Boracay.
The interagency task force to rehabilitate Boracay include the DILG, and the departments of environment and tourism.
Assistant Tourism Secretary Frederick Alegre said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is the lead agency in the civil works that will be done on the main road.
Starting April 26, when the closure of Boracay to tourists becomes effective, the DPWH will start work on the road widening all the way from Jetty Port, he said.
There will be a pipe laying project also to be done by the DPWH, he added.
Alegre reiterated Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo's hope Boracay could be fully reopened even before the six-month target closure ends.
"Remember the order is for a maximum of six months and Secretary Teo has expressed confidence that we can do this faster than the prescribed time of maximum of six months," he said.
Densing said there was also a proposal that for 30 consecutive days in July, the water discharge in Boracay should be within DENR standard and the sanitary landfill in the island should be zero garbage by the end of the same month.
He also said that they were targeting to finish the rehabilitation of the Bulabog drainage by the end of April or early May.
The government should also dismantle by end of July or early August all violators of the 25 plus 5 meter easement rule, he said.
"So 100 percent compliance of all establishments, both in the front of white beach in the Bulabog Beach, they should comply with the 25 plus 5 easement rule," Densing said.
He added it is also their target to recover at least three of the five wetlands, which have been reclaimed and built with illegal structures by the end of July or early August.
The government officials went to Boracay where they held a dialogue with about 150 stakeholders. Celerina Monte/DMS
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