Boracay businessman: No notice from DENR on alleged environmental offense

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Boracay, Aklan (CNN Philippines, April 9) — A Boracay businessman said he has no idea on how the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) came up with the list of 195 establishments supposedly not connected to the island's sewage system.

In an interview with CNN Philippines Monday, an official of a high-end hotel included on the DENR list showed documents proving their establishment has been connected to the island's sewage line since they started operating.

The hotel official, who declined to face the camera and be named, said he will prove this when DENR officials come by for an inspection.

He said his resort has not received any notice from the environmental department about any violation.

He claimed other businesses also did not hear from the DENR on supposed offenses.

In a text message to CNN Philippines, DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the list covers establishments that have not secured a discharge permit or have not installed their own water treatment facility.

"These establishments were issued Notices of violations," he said. "If they indeed are connected, they should coordinate with our local DENR office to show proof of connection."

 

The sewage line in Boracay is managed by the Boracay Island Water Corporation, a joint venture between the Ayala Corporation and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Meanwhile, Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI), the largest group of businessmen on the island, said they would not give any interviews while the government finalizes guidelines regarding Boracay's closure on April 26th.

Saving Boracay: Timeline, what to expect

The local government of Malay, Aklan is still in the process of crafting guidelines related to the the island's six-month closure.

Rowen Aguirre, Malay's spokesperson, said they are looking to finalize the guidelines related to the distribution of identification cards, which residents must show so they can enter Boracay once it is closed off to tourists.

Shutdown imminent, cleanup efforts underway

On April 4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced Boracay would be closed to tourists starting April 26.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines' president Jose Clemente III said the three week notice given by the government was unfair.

"They held out on the date of closure for so long, we were not really able to adjust as much as we could," he said.

Clemente added a six-month lead time prior to the closure would have been appreciated so they could properly prepare.

Prior to the announcement, officials revealed their plans on cleanup efforts to comply with the government's order to rehabilitate the island.

On March 13, Malay – the town which has jurisdiction over Boracay – ordered no new structures should be built until September 13.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflor said Boracay's drainage system would be fixed by May 31.

The Department of Labor and Employment has also said it would offer jobs to 5,000 informal and indigenous peoples working on the island under an emergency employment program, while other government agencies would have their own programs.