Boracay an executive, not legislative issue; set politics aside


    PRECISELY because Boracay is an emergency today and requires urgent, healing action, the Congress should be prudent about taking any action that would interfere with the rehabilitation process, instead of facilitating the implementation of a solution.

    We are constrained to raise this point because of a possibly distracting and intrusive Senate investigation into what is happening and what is being planned for Boracay.

    There is no place for such an investigation now.

    Politicians and legislators should desist from meddling in the resolution of the Boracay emergency, like working to defer the planned temporary closure of the resort.

    This issue is entirely a matter for executive decision and action. The executive must resolve the problem, and answer for failure to solve it.

    This is hardly the business of the legislature and its lawmaking function. There is no prospective legislation affecting Boracay that is currently under review in the Congress.

    The planned oversight hearing is prospective and not yet a fact. Neither house of Congress knew about the Boracay problem until President Duterte exploded it in the headlines.

    Without these conditions, legislative meddling is more obstructing than complementary to the urgent program of revitalizing and saving Boracay.

    We believe Sen. Cynthia Villar should be more cautious before declaring that she is not amenable to the government’s plan to close Boracay for 60 days while the government is fixing its environmental problems.

    How is this a matter for the senator’s amenability? She performs no task in the operations of Boracay. And she has no role to play in the island’s rehabilitation and recovery.

    Senator Villar will contribute more to the recovery of Boracay if she just keeps her hands off what is being done now.

    There is a temptation for politicians to intervene in Boracay’s rehabilitation because there will be mid-term elections next year. They will seek to generate publicity and curry favor with local politicians in Boracay and Aklan. And local politicians are anxious to find protectors and supporters in Congress.

    In our view, precisely because of impending elections, national politicians should take care not to interfere in the work of the national government, especially in matters of overarching concern.

    It is fortunate that we have in President Duterte a chief executive who is quick to act with dispatch upon seeing the environmental emergency in Boracay. He did not call for an elaborate fact-finding investigation before deciding on an emergency rehabilitation plan for the island. He decided to mobilize three entire departments to join together in implementing a surefire program to stop the degradation of Boracay, temporarily halt its operations, commence the re-engineering process, and ensure the reopening of the resort island within a reasonable period of time.

    Politicians should be fully aware of Boracay’s emergency situation, and should have better information before butting into the business of how best to rehabilitate the island.

    This calls for expert and professional knowledge, a rehabilitation program, and a long-range plan for restructuring the Boracay economy.

    To be sure, local governments, local communities, investors, visitors, government executives, and economic managers should all be heard in determining what is best for Boracay and the nation.

    The matter of whether closure is necessary is a question of survival and sustainability, not a question for electoral politics.


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