Members of the House Committee on Natural Resources have asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to submit a workable and attainable budget for 2019 aimed at addressing the environmental concerns of different tourist destinations in the country.

The lawmakers issued the call during the hearing of the Committee on Natural Resources on House Resolution 1706, authored by panel chairman Rep. Arnel Ty, seeking an inquiry into the reported establishment of structures in forest areas, including the shorelines of Boracay.

Rep. Arnel Ty filed House Resolution 1706 seeking an inquiry into the reported establishment of structures in forest areas, including the shorelines of Boracay.

DENR officials led by Secretary Roy Cimatu provided the committee updated information on the agency’s rehabilitation activities for the world famous Boracay Island resort, which is set to reopen on October 26, 2018.

Among others, Cimatu updated lawmakers on the rehabilitation efforts in Boracay, particularly on the issue of water services and sewerage treatment.

Rep. Jesulito Manalo urged Cimatu to submit to Congress and the Department of Budget and Management the projected budget for addressing environmental concerns faced by tourist destinations in the country.

He said such a budget proposal should include not only Boracay but also other tourist destinations in the country facing environmental issues.

Aside from the DENR officials, several Boracay stakeholders, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) gave their insights during the hearing.

It would be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the closure of the world-famous island resort to tourism last April 26 to allow a massive clean-up of the island which he tagged as a “cesspool” due to the alarming environmental degradation.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the total closure of Boracay last April 26 for a massive clean-up of the island due to alarming environmental degradation. The island resort is set to reopen on October 26.

Ty filed HR 1706 in response to President Duterte’s closure of Boracay.

Studies revealed that at that time of the closure, traces of coliform bacteria were present in the seawater and shorelines of Boracay, endangering the health of local and foreign tourists.

Boracay’s environmental devastation was blamed on the ill effects of unregulated development and unhampered tourism activities, the excessive construction of structures in forest areas and shorelines of the island.

Disputes between the local government and several agencies which were tasked to regulate the operation of Boracay as a prime tourist destination, also added to the environmental problems that beset Boracay.



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