Senator Win Gatchalian is proposing the creation of a Boracay Island Development Authority, which aims to sustain the rehabilitation and development of Boracay into a truly world-class tourism destination that would be the envy of the entire world.
“We won’t make the same mistakes with Boracay the second time around,” said Gatchalian, a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Tourism.
“The fact that the national government had to mobilize several departments to ‘save’ Boracay from its environmental woes shows that the current governance framework of Boracay is inadequate to address its unique ecological and regulatory needs,” he added.
He said BIDA would be created along the lines of the Intramuros Administration, the attached agency of the Department of Tourism that runs the famous heritage site in Manila, as a separate administrative entity which will be tasked to oversee the planning, development, and administration of the island.
To safeguard the environmental integrity of Boracay's renowned beaches and waters, he said BIDA would be armed with strong regulatory and enforcement powers.
The senator said this would ensure strict compliance with environmental laws and regulations regarding waste management, pollution, and marine life protection, among others.
The authority would also be tasked with cultivating a culture of sustainable development through its control over the permitting and licensing of construction and land use, regulation of commercial enterprises and tourist inflows, and the maintenance of roads and public utilities—all in strict conformity to a long-term Boracay Development Master Plan.
Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia A. Villar described as “vague” the government’s plan for Boracay.
“But I talked to my son, [DPWH] Secretary Mark Villar, and he promised me that he would finish the circumferntial road. And on my part, I will really help them to be able to do waste management kasi I’m good at that. I promise the Governor that I will do everything on waste management. Beyond that, that’s beyond our control... I do not promise beyond that.”
As this developed, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, based in Cebu City described Boracay Island’s security situation on the first official day of its closure to tourism activities Thursday (April 26) as “generally peaceful.”
Centcom commander Lt. Gen. Paul Atal said there is no need to deploy additional military forces to Boracay as there are enough security forces in the resort island.
“The role of Centcom forces is to support the PNP [Philippine National Police] in its law enforcement function and keeping the peace and order in the island [especially] in implementing the guidelines of the closure,” Atal said.
“The PNP has the lead role in the overall security responsibility in Boracay during its closure supported by the AFP. There is no need to deploy [additional] AFP forces in the island since there is enough boots on the ground. However, Centcom can easily shift forces in Boracay as the need arises or if the threat is imminent,” he added.
Law enforcers, particularly the PNP and AFP, were directed to ensure strict implementation of the closure and to maintain peace and order.
The local government of Malay was likewise directed to ensure that no tourist enters the island, while residents and establishment owners were urged “to act within the bounds of the law and comply with the directives.”
The island of Boracay has been temporarily closed for six months to make way for its rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, the first day of closure of Boracay turned tragic for an off-duty security guard, who was killed during an afternoon videoke session in a restaurant in Bgy. Manoc-Manoc.
The police said Jaylord dey la Vega was stabbed dead while he was singing Air Supply’s hit song “Having You Near Me” by another security guard identified as Tony Jimenez, who approached him from behind,
The incident happened at the packed Cris Restaurant in Barangay Manoc-Manoc in Boracay Thursday afternoon, April 26, the first day the world-famous island resort was closed to tourists.
The police said the knife was still lodged in Dela Vega's body when he was brought to the Ciriaco Tirol Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival a little later.
Police immediately arrested the suspect who was identified by one of Dela Vega's drinking buddies. The victim and the suspect apparently did not know each other.
It was one of the first reported crimes on the island since it was shut down on Thursday.
Investigation showed that there was no known motive for the attack on Dela Vega.
“Motive? Wala talaga. Kumbaga natripan lang [Motive? There really wasn’t any. Like, it was done for kicks],” case investigator Police Officer 3 Bobby Abayon said.
He said Jimenez was apparently drunk during the incident,
Malay municipality police head Chief Insp. Ruel Firmo said that stabbing incidents in Boracay are very rare in the island.
Police said that Dela Vega and Jimenez worked for different security companies. Dela Vega was employed by Partisala Boracay Security Agency, while Jimenez was detailed to the Crown Regency Hotel by Zy Prime Security Agency.