Boracay: it’s better to rehabilitate now than later


Boracay Island faces a dim fate of getting shut down if its sewerage problem and other environmental issues are not resolved in time. Closing down means turning away an average of 15,000 tourists daily.

The President has spoken: “Boracay is a cesspool”.  This brutal assessment of Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, on the famous tourist destination has effectively moved both local and national government agencies to take action – like never before!

Duterte threatens to shut down Boracay Island should the sewerage problem and other environmental issues are not resolved in six months. And he has all the reasons to be angry.

Boracay Island
Natural rock formation was destroyed to give way to this business facility.

The once pristine waters and the naturally beautiful creations on the island are, unfortunately, fast deteriorating. Problems of sanitation, sewerage, and gross neglect of nature have become rampant. Many business establishments operating in and around the area don’t comply with proper sewerage system. Concrete structures are being built in areas where they should not be. Rock formations are broken down to give way to restaurants and other businesses.

A national TV network at least once did a documentary featuring the environmental problems on the island. It even called for the local government to take action. But not much has been done to correct it. Or, is it apt to say that nothing (at all!) has been done so far? Local officials who had the jurisdiction over the issues persisted in turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the continued destruction and anomalies. With no doubt I say, politics and corruption were at play.

Lazada Philippines
Business as usual in Boracay

Instead of conducting an investigation or reprimanding the erring businesses, the local government agencies justified the anomalies.  And, of course, since they have the “blessing” of their government patrons, businesses persist in doing what benefits them most, regardless of the laws.

Meanwhile, thousands of tourists continue flocking to Boracay every day, apparently oblivious to the controversies surrounding it.  And as expected, the situation only gets worse.  Recent surveys reveal that many of the business establishments in the area don’t have a proper sewerage system. Human waste and kitchen runoffs go directly to the sea. Thus, coliforms proliferate. This only means that the waters are no longer safe for swimming and other activities. And not only humans are at risk now. Marine life is also at stake.

Finally, ‘The Punisher’ speaks …

Thanks to President Duterte’s firm order to rehabilitate Boracay Island. Both local and national government are now taking the necessary steps to indemnify the famous tourist destination. The Department of Tourism and other government agencies are now looking into a temporary closure of the island to expedite the repair.

Whether they should decide for a total shut down or partial closure, I personally believe that business operations in Boracay should temporarily cease. So, repair can be carried out efficiently! It’s better to rehabilitate now than later while it can still be saved. It’s better to lose some revenues from tourism now while there’s still hope of redemption than to forever lose Boracay to waste. And I’m optimistic that Boracay Island can restart over again to reclaim its spot on the tourism map.

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