Inter-agency task force to develop 'new Boracay'

AKLAN, Philippines – The inter-agency task force formed to rehabilitate the Philippines' best known island resort will develop a "new" Boracay guided by an updated masterplan of urban planner Felino Palafox Jr, the Department of Tourism said.

Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said in an interview on CNN Philippines on Tuesday, March 13, that the proposed  development will have features at par with global standards like bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, two-way streets for tourists and small vehicles, and an expanded road network for trucks.

“Imagine when you go to Boracay and walk in the streets, we have a world-class destination with inferior services. We have to demolish illegal structures in the streets. We have to take it out if within the limits,” Alegre said.

The task force is composed of secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, Department of Justice, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They will meet with Palafox this week.

“The task force will look into the updated masterplan and we asked Architect Palafox for an upgrade plan for a new Boracay. We already know the extent of the problem; it has to be resolved. We know what has to be done,” Alegre said.

The task force is proposing the declaration of a state of calamity in Boracay for 6 months, and its closure for two months to address the sewerage and environmental concerns.

Alegre said the task force is still drafting the declaration of a state of calamity with the Department of Justice.  –