DENR begins to pull down illegal structures in Boracay

The demolition of illegal structures on the world-famous Boracay Island began on Saturday morning with the dismantling of the viewing deck built on a rock formation by a posh resort.

Workers commissioned by Boracay West Cove started the demolition works a day after Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu visited the area and told resort owner Crisostomo Aquino that the structure has to be removed for being illegal.

Cimatu said the around 120-square meter viewing deck, which stands on three natural rock formations, was not covered by the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAg-T) secured by the resort.

The resort’s FLAg-T only covers 998 square meters in Sitio Diniwid in Barangay Balabag, and it does not include the viewing deck, he said. 

“I have to implement the law,” said Cimatu, who was recently tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to address the environmental problems besetting one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

“We are running out of time. We are only given six months by the President,” Cimatu told Aquino when they met last Friday.

Aquino initially bargained for 30 days, but Cimatu said the demolition has to be done immediately.

A demolition team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was scheduled to pull down the viewing deck last Friday, but Cimatu deferred it to Saturday in consideration to resort guests who are already on the viewing deck.

Aquino also agreed to self-demolish the illegal structure on the prodding of Cimatu.

“The moment you do it, you will be admired all over the country," said Cimatu. "It will set an example to all resort owners here to follow the law.”

Cimatu also instructed the resort owner to make sure that all debris are removed during the demolition.

"I do not want the waters to become dirty during the demolition," he said. 

According to Aquino, he built the deck for guests to see the most beautiful view of the Boracay sunset. ###

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