A crackdown on “dirty” business establishments should be enforced beyond Boracay, an administration lawmaker said on Friday.
Boracay is a world-famous beach resort in the country’s Visayas region.
Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte made the call in light of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) closure order on 51 business establishments in Boracay for lack of or poor wastewater treatment facilities.
“The DENR should check other tourist destinations where business establishments may have been violating environmental laws similar to what happened in Boracay. This [non-compliance] can also be the case in other tourist destinations,” Barbers said in a statement.
“The clean-up should start now. Business establishments are earning big bucks for their operations. In return, they should give back to the people by not endangering their health,” he added.
The 51 establishments were closed down for violating the Clean Water Act of 2004 after they were found lacking wastewater treatment facilities and instead just dumped sewage into the sea.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier threatened that he will close Boracay because it has become a “cesspool.”
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, however, clarified that at least 50 to 60 percent of all establishments in Boracay appeared to be compliant with the Clean Water Act of 2004.
Based on records of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Office, Boracay island was visited by at least 1.6 million tourists from January to October 2017, resulting in P46 billion in income.
Foreigners and Filipinos who live abroad account for P31.769 billion of the tourism-related revenue, while domestic tourists spent P14.757 billion.
In an earlier congressional hearing, Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority pushed for an urgent action on Boracay to prevent other tourist sports from experiencing similar dilemma, starting with the allocation of P1 billion to fix the drainage system of the island.