Cimatu counts on support of local officials in Boracay rehab

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is counting on the commitment of local government officials to help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) meet the six-month deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte to address the environmental problems facing the world-famous Boracay Island.

Cimatu met with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores and Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling on Friday to discuss measures that may be undertaken to solve the sewage and wastewater problems in Boracay as quickly as possible. 

Also present at the meeting were representatives from water concessionaires Boracay Water Company Inc. (BWCI) and Boracay Tubi System Inc.

Both Miraflores and Ceciron threw their support behind the DENR’s efforts to rehabilitate the pollution-challenged Boracay Island, which for many years has been the source of income and employment for Aklan province.

Cimatu got the commitment of Miraflores in providing additional trucks that will transport the island’s residual waste to the Malay mainland. 

“We need around five trucks or more to move garbage every night from the materials recovery facility (MRF) directly to the barge and to Malay (mainland),” Cimatu said during the meeting.

“This will improve the collection system and garbage does not stay overnight in the MRF,” he added.

At the same time, Cimatu he would allow BWCI to drain water from their sewage treatment plant in Barangay Balabag to a nearby wetland area provided the water quality meets the standards set by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau.

This will enable the treatment plant to reduce some load and prevent the problem of backflow, he said.

"I will only allow it after a water quality test shows that the water is safe for discharge,” he pointed out.

During the meeting, Miraflores told Cimatu that the provincial government supports the dismantling of illegal structures violating the 30-meter shoreline easement.

The governor also said they favor the demolition of structures within forestland areas that have no Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism coming from the DENR.

After the meeting with local government officials, Cimatu went straight to the controversial West Grove Resort located in the west side of Boracay, where he met with the owner Crisanto Aquino.

The resort became controversial for building structures on natural rock formations and operating for years without permit. 

“I have to implement the law. These have to be demolished,” Cimatu told Aquino, referring to the restaurant built on top of the rock formations. Aquino agreed to self-demolish the structures. #

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