Gov’t officials to create new master plan for Boracay

Government officials are set to meet with urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. to talk about the new master plan for the rehabilitation of the Boracay island, a Department of Tourism (DOT) official disclosed.

According to Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, the Boracay inter-agency tasl force “will take a look at the new updated master plan” which architect Palafox will present.

“We have to look at the new Boracay already at this point. We already know the problem… the extent of the problem. The President has already described it for us and we have seen it for the past three months that we have been going there,” said Alegre.

The meeting will be attended by the inter-agency committee which includes DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año.

Alegre also mentioned that Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, as well as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II will also be part of the said committee.

Among the target results of the Boracay rehabilitation is for the island to have “features that would be at par with global standards” which relates to pedestrian lanes, bike lanes, and two way streets for tourists and small vehicles.

Alegre also said that the proposal of declaring a state of calamity in the island either before or after the Holy Week is now being finalized, clarifying that “it’s not a state of calamity because there’s a storm. There is a provision were a calamity is human induced… in this case.”

The 60-day shutdown of the island, on the other hand, is eyed to be implemented from June to September, the official said. However, the tourism official noted that the proposed shutdown period, as well as the six-month declaration of state of calamity, is not enough for the island’s rehabilitation.

“The suggestion is… can we do it during the lean season which is June to September. And we have seen the data. It really goes down between June to September. In fact, it is less foreign tourist during that time,” he furthered.