Bill on Boracay dev’t body filed in congress

SENATE Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Wednesday sought the creation of Boracay Development Authority to manage and develop Boracay Island.

Drilon filed Senate Bill No. 17 as the Duterte administration approved the P25-billion Boracay Medium-Term Action Plan in a Cabinet meeting Monday night.

“The approval of the Boracay Medium-Term Action Plan is a significant development in our desire to restore Boracay as the most beautiful island in Asia,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the approval of the action plan all the more calls for the immediate creation of Boracay Development Authority, saying that it is important to have an agency that can take over the management, development, regulation, protection and maintenance of the island, including its coastal and marine biodiversity.

He lamented how the current set-up failed in protecting Boracay Island leading to the degradation of the country’s top tourist destination.

“It is apparent that Boracay has suffered from the governmental system currently in place. It has failed to provide the island with the protection and preservation that it needs,” Drilon said in his explanatory note.

Drilon thus proposed the creation of Boracay Development Authority to operate, administer, manage, and develop Boracay Island.

Under Senate Bill No. 17, its Board of Directors will be composed of 15 members: one representative each from the Province of Aklan, the Municipality of Malay, and the three barangays comprising the island of Boracay, four representatives from the national government, three representatives for the business and investment sectors, and three representatives from local community organizations and/or non-government organizations.

Among the powers of the body are to formulate and implement short and long-term plans, issue permits, order the closure or suspension of a development or construction, or the cessation of operations of any going concern that are detrimental to Boracay Island.

It can also adopt and implement measures and standards for environmental pollution control, and construct, acquire, own, lease, operate, and maintain on its own of through partnership with the private sector the required infrastructure necessary in Boracay.

The President shall appoint a professional manager as administrator or general manager.

“We have made great strides in getting Boracay back on its feet,” Drilon said, noting the significant improvements after the six-month closure of Boracay Island.

“With the recent restoration efforts, it has been shown that restoring Boracay to its old pristine glory is not impossible,” he added.

“Creating the Authority would help ensure that the island will continue to exist with a functioning ecosystem, under a workable plan for sustainable development,” he said.

Drilon concluded: “Boracay is a treasure not just of one municipality, province or region. It is a national treasure, the protection of which should be a national concern.”