By: John Christoper Lara | Touchdown Express
Who would believe that this photo was taken just 57 days after the rehabilitation shutdown? And who would have thought that there is still hope for this tine white-sand island in the Philippines after years of being overdeveloped of infrastructures and overcrowded by tourists. No, this is not fake and your eyes definitely don’t deceive you. Wondering how this became possible?
It all started with a speech by President Rodrigo Duterte for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) 31st anniversary rites. Here the President revealed his personal experience about the drastic odor that he smelled in Boracay 2 years before his campaigns for the presidential elections.
“I sniffed the water, there’s a smell that does not fit, then when I had (the water) tested, the bacteria was all over,” the President said.
The President then addressed that this has given him the motivation to order the closure of Boracay to tourists for six months, starting April 26. This is followed by his Executive Order No. 53, which created an interagency task force to carry out the island’s “rehabilitation.”
“We need to clean it. We banner it, (and urge tourists) ‘Go to Boracay’ and it’s full of shit,” he firmly stated.
However, when the closure was first announced, an outrage among various sectors arised because it posed a threat for a major loss of incomes, especially to those lowly workers who have families. While believed that it is impossible to clean Boracay given that 6-month deadline. It is understandable. But if we look into it, the fault is at those business owners who are irresponsible with their operations that is why Boracay became an island of solid and sewage wastes.
But the good news is that the clean- up has caused a major turning point after almost 60 days later, because the island looks rejuvenated once again. This is evident to the photos of a cleaner, better Boracay posted by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.
A closer look to a cleaner Boracay
Almost 2 months after the order, take a look at the Boracay’s beachfront which is now cleared and free from vendors, bonfires and even the sand castle builders who once used the white-sand to create their masterpieces for tourists to have their famous photo-ops. I’m sure it is almost unrecognizable for tourist and people who were used to the overcrowded version of the island.
Also, with regards to the people who lost their jobs, efforts are being done by the government to eventually provide everyone with jobs in the island from businesses that will pass the requirements and permits. They hope that as the island re-opens, the people who lost their jobs will also be able to find other ways and options which will not negatively affect the islands. Among anything else, we should be reminded that the cleanliness and the conservation of the island is on the top of the most important priorities because leading its destruction will cause a lot of trouble not only to the people living in the island but also to all the people who loves it.
As of the moment, the government along with other non-government organizations continuously works on maintaining the current cleanliness of the area. Stricter rules to limit the tourists daily are enforced by also limiting the available rooms. Lesser hotels and businesses were also allowed to re-open while water sports and other activities were not allowed as of the moment. Smoking and drinking on public places are also strongly prohibited. On the other hand, companies like Cebu Pacific are also helping by donating trash bins with information on how to properly discard garbage.
The public is now advised to be more responsible with regards to their surroundings. Proper waste segregation and disposal must be done not only in Boracay but in all tourist spots and other places. Let’s all be thankful that rehabilitation was done before it was too late. Let’s keep in mind to be more careful tourists wherever we go.