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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Boracay rehab seen prolonged–Budget

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Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday that even after the six-month closure order of Boracay Island, its rehabilitation  may be extended for next year.

As such, Diokno said, the extension may require additional budget allocations.

“There are some activities that might spill over to next year,” Diokno said at a media briefing.

“These are long-term projects like relocation of some informal settlers,” he added.

At the same time, however, Diokno   assured the public that the six-month closure of the island will not be extended.

“Definitely, it will open… we will exhaust the six months or will be earlier,” Diokno said.

“Should agency programs or projects for Boracay rehabilitation spill over into fiscal year 2019, agencies may also propose these in their budget proposals for the 2019 budget,” Diokno said.

He also assured the public that the  government has enough funds to support the efforts in rehabilitating the island and assisting affected workers and residents affected by the temporary closure.

Diokno said concerned agencies such as the Departments of Environment, Tourism and Interior have their own budgetary requirements that they can use for rehab purposes.

The Budget chief also said that the national government’s contingent and calamity funds can also be tapped.

To date, the Department of Budget and Management has already released P448 million to the Department of Labor and Employment to cover financial assistance for 17,735 affected workers in the island.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, meanwhile, gave out P9.7 million in financial assistance to 4,129 displaced workers as of May 4.

Diokno said the DBM is set to release P490 million to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the Boracay circumferential road project even as the

Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority will spend P8 to P10 million from its own budget to rehabilitate the island’s waste water management system by constructing temporary outfalls, opening drainage systems, and declogging critical areas.

“Rest assured that the government has a work plan in the temporary closure of Boracay island. This plan does not only involve the physical rehabilitation of the once pristine Island, but also extends to the social welfare of the residents and workers to be affected,” Diokno said.

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