MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday, October 4, proposed the creation of a "national body" to manage Boracay Island instead of leaving its management to the local government.
During Cimatu's confirmation hearing, Senator Franklin Drilon asked about his plans to address the "deterioration" of Boracay, the most famous of Philippine beaches.
"I always say this: if you want to see what a local government should not be in terms of environmental protection, you should go and see Boracay. I'm not an environmentalist, but you need not be an environmentalist to see the abuses committed on Boracay," the senator noted.
He then asked Cimatu to give the Commission on Appointments (CA) a plan on how to "correct the situation" in Boracay.
"I would like to propose, your honor, to have a national body to manage Boracay," Cimatu answered. "I will support them in terms of...providing technical assistance."
Drilon then asked if the secretary meant that the management of Boracay would be removed from the local government unit.
"Yes, your honor. That really, I think, is the best option for Boracay this time," Cimatu said.
The senator asked Cimatu to draft a bill for the national management of Boracay.
"There are so many problems in Boracay that I would expect you to submit to us an overall plan as to how to rehabilitate Boracay. When can we have that?" Drilon asked.
"I will submit it as soon as possible, probably next week," Cimatu said.
As early as 2015, the government has vowed to stop operations of resorts and other establishments contributing to the pollution of Boracay.
More recently, the Inquirer reported in August that the environment department's Environmental Management Bureau issued notices of violation to 12 commercial establishments in Boracay for discharging their wastewater into the sea.
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.