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Sobriety, protection sought for Boracay

Stakeholders in the tourism industry has called on the national government to show sobriety over the current condition of Boracay, which is set for total disclosure unless all the mistakes pointed out by President Duterte will be corrected within two months.
The stakeholders said there are two biggest sectors in the famed resort that will be crippled—the island dwellers and tourism industry.
“Let’s not put our main edge over the beach industry because we will end up a loser here,” one of the stockholders told the Daily Tribune recently.
It can be recalled that the threat of impending closure of the resort came from the president himself.
Duterte was appalled upon learning that many resorts in the island lack waste facilities. Their wastes go to other resorts with septic tanks that get overloaded and that causes the bad odor in the famed tourist spot.
The president thus labeled Boracay as cesspool or literally meaning sharing of sewage depot for wastes.
Other observers, meanwhile, said Boracay deserves to be closed because of too much exploitation brought by the nonstop arrival of guests.
“The expansion of Caticlan airport takes its toll on the resort.
Going to the area today is now very easy and faster,” the observer said.
A research at Google said people going to the island some 30 years ago must endure the very long travel. “They are carried on the shoulders of boat men and you can only go there during good weather and during low tide,” said Amor Maclang, who first reached the island in 1983.
Boracay, located in Malay, Aklan, is just 360 kilometers of Manila. Three barangays cover the island beach.
Meanwhile, Boracay and other small-island ecosystems may get special protected-territory status under a federal system to make sure that they are properly governed and well-managed, a member of the House of Representatives said yesterday.
Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo said that when Congress finally tackles the proposed shift to a federal system, he will propose a special treatment for small islands that are highly vulnerable to over-exploitation to make sure they are preserved and their ecological survival is not threatened or sacrificed for the sake of business and profits.
“We have seen what greed and the lack of governance and management capability of local governments can do to such small islands as Boracay,” Castelo said.
“It should leave us with some serious lessons that we can use to devise other ways to manage our island ecosystems amid the dangers posed by climate change and man’s unquenchable thirst for profit,” he added.
The lesson he said is that Boracay’s case is the result of a combination of failure of governance, business greed, and bad politics.

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