THE National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday adopted a resolution recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of calamity in Boracay Island, a spokesperson said.
“Following the prevailing conditions in Boracay Island and the urgent need for its temporary closure as a tourist destination for purposes of rehabilitation, the National Council has agreed to recommend to the President the declaration of a State of Calamity in Boracay Island,” Romina Marasigan said.
The recommendation, in line with Duterte’s six-month closure order, covers Balabag, Manoc-Manic and Yapak in Malay, Aklan for a maximum period of one year.
Marasigan said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, as chairperson, presided over the NDRRMC meeting, which representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Health (DOH) also attended.
Marasigan said that based on the investigation of DENR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), pollution caused by improper waste segregation and encroachment of protected areas have “adversely affected” the ecological balance in Boracay.
The findings of the DOST, meanwhile, revealed that erosion, occurring along the island’s West Beach from 1993 to 2003, was “prevalent.”
In a statement, Lorenzana said: “The draft resolution of a state of calamity in the affected barangay covering Boracay Island was approved by the [NDRRMC] subject to minimal modification discussed during the meeting and for review of the Legal Working Group.”
Marasigan, meanwhile, added that the regional disaster management council in the Western Visayas region showed that there was a significant increase in tourist arrivals for the last five years — from 1.2 million tourists in 2012 up to 2 million in 2017. DEMPSEY REYES