The government’s preparations for the reopening of the Philippines’ top tourist destination, Boracay Island, in October are in full blast as the six-month closure-rehabilitation has come to a homestretch.
The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) is planning to hold a dry run for the island’s target October 26 reopening from Oct. 15 to 25.
“Operation of the one-stop shop for requirements has been extended from Aug. 25 to Sept. 7 to allow establishments to comply with requirements,” BIATF said in a statement.
On April 26, 2-18, the government started Boracay Island’s half-a-year closure to tourists to hasten cleanup and rehabilitation of the world-famous beach resort.
The BIATF is spearheading the rehabilitation work to save Boracay from further environmental degradation.
Water pollution, encroachment, and solid waste accumulation are among environmental problems hounding Boracay then, the task force said.
“Carrying capacity of the island had been breached, leading to generation of too much waste and deterioration of water quality, among others,” BIATF statement said.
The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna consucted a study on Boracay’s carrying capacity, finding out what the area can support without experiencing environmental degradation.
Results of the study are expected to help the BIATF develop policies that will ensure the rehabilitation efforts in the island will be sustained.
According to the BIATF, the reopening dry run will be open to local tourists, giving priority to the Aklanons or the natives of Aklan province, where Boracay is located.
The task force said the dry run will enable it to assess what else must be done before the government reopens Boracay to domestic and foreign tourists.
It said the Department of Tourism will give the final approval on the requirements the establishments in the island must comply with.
“We call on the public to wait for announcement on which compliant and accredited establishments will initially be allowed to operate by Oct. 26 before proceeding with their own reservations,” the BIATF statement said.