Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the term extension of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force is an opportune time to monitor and assess the finished portions of the ongoing rehabilitation of the resort island.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to extend the term of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has given the task force more time to complete all of its projects.
"We thank the President for his trust and confidence in the task force. We shall maximize this term extension to tie up all the loose ends of the island’s rehabilitation. This is our commitment to the Filipino people,” Cimatu, who is also chairperson of the BIATF, said in a press release.
The BIATF, which was created by President Rodrigo Duterte under Executive Order No. 53 last May 8, 2018, was given a term extension of up to June 30, 2022 under Executive Order No. 147 signed by the President last September 14. (See also: More works to be done; Boracay task force’s term extended until June 2022 )
Last March 2021, the BIATF asked President Duterte to extend its term anew "to allow the task force to complete all its projects that have been stalled by the pandemic."
"The extension is an opportune time to monitor and assess the finished portions of the ongoing rehabilitation to ensure that these not only meet standards but are sustainable as well," Cimatu said.
"A Boracay Island brought back to its pristine state is the best legacy the task force can leave behind," he pointed out.
During the President’s “Talk to the People” address last August 26, Cimatu reported that 273 out of 339 structures encroaching the 25+5 easement in the foreshore area inside the island have been demolished as of July.
The BIATF has also carried out the expansion of septage and sewerage facilities.
Cimatu said that individual sewage treatment plants (STPs) for establishments with 50 rooms and above have been constructed, and the outfall pipe system has also been upgraded.
In particular, the capacity of the STP located in Barangay Yapak was increased to 2,500 cubic meters per day.
The DENR chief said a total of 428 establishments and households were also connected to sewer lines and 88 STPs were installed.
Through the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, the regular collection and analysis of water samples from beaches, wetlands, and outfalls have been conducted.
Cimatu pointed out that except for the Tulubhan outfall, all the beaches in the island, including the White Beach and Bolabog Beach have been classified as Class SB water, making these waters suitable for swimming, diving, and other water recreational activities.
The Tulubhan area, which is located on the Sibuyan Sea side of the island and is populated by residential houses, is not yet connected to the sewer network.
Through the Handog Titulo Program of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), certificates of land ownership award were distributed to the island's Ati tribe in 2018, following the pronouncement of the President during the island’s rehabilitation that the entire island will be declared as a land reform area.
In addition, 33 illegal settler families from Wetland 6 were relocated as agrarian reform beneficiaries.
During the six-month closure of the island that started in April 2018, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Labor and Employment provided livelihood and financial support through more than 50 technical assistance and training to at least 4,000 participants.
A total of P500-million worth of financial assistance and grants were given to 22,740 affected workers, vulnerable sectors, and beneficiaries while P39-million worth of financing and loan assistance were provided to affected farmers and fisherfolk.
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