Disaster officials recommend declaring state of calamity in Boracay

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 23) — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) recommended  Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte declare a state of calamity in Boracay that would last for a year.

According to the NDRRMC, a state of calamity could be declared in the Barangays of Balabag, Manoc-Manoc, and Yapak in the town of Malay, Aklan. 

The recommendation came just before the island shuts down on April 26 for clean-up and rehabilitation efforts.

"The draft resolution recommending the declaration of a state of calamity in the affected barangays covering Boracay Island was approved by the National Council subject to minimal modification as discussed during the meeting and for review of the Legal Working Group," according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who also heads the NDRRMC.

The Council said that pollution caused by improper waste management and encroachment of protected areas by illegal structures had adversely affected the overall ecological balance on the Island.

It noted that beach erosion was prevalent largely due to storms, extraction of sand to raise properties, and structures along the foreshore.  From 1993 to 2003, the NDRRMC said that erosion had reached 40 meters along West Beach.

Tourist arrivals, which had significantly increased over the last five year from 1,206,252 in 2012 to 2,001,974 in 2017, had also taken its tool on Boracay .

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The NDRRMC also supported the temporary closure of the island for six months to make way for its rehabilitation and for government to address the socio-econimic needs of affected communities.

"This concerted effort from the NDRRMC is in continued pursuit of our initiatives to building disaster resilient Filipino communities,"  Lorenzana said.