Cimatu orders water concessionaires to work together in cleaning up Boracay’s waters

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has ordered Boracay’s two water concessionaires to work together in cleaning up the wastewater being discharged into the sea and help solve the “cesspool” problem.


This, even as he ordered an investigation on what caused a spike in coliform levels in Bulabog beach, days after reporting in a Cabinet meeting that a “significantly decreasing trend” of colifom occurrence has been observed in the same area.


“That was a bright spot in our efforts. We were able to decrease it to 2,000 [most probable number per 100 milliliters] after a trend of millions over the past two years. And then here comes the shocking report that it has again reached two million,” Cimatu recounted during the meeting with the water concessionaires. 


This, he said, prompted him to order intensified actions against establishments illegally connected to the drainage system.


In separate meetings with the Boracay Island Water Company (BIWC) and the Boracay Tubi Systems Inc. (BTSI), Cimatu instructed both companies to improve connections to the sewer and drainage lines.


“This task is crucial to improving Boracay’s water quality, and is instrumental for us to recommend the reopening of the island,” he said.


His marching orders to the two concessionaires: “Any kind of water that is being discharged into the sea should be treated first.”


“We should not have reached this stage where we need to have Boracay closed if we had [worked together] sooner. We have to clean the drainage system now. We also have to make people responsible for the discharge, whether they are connected or not, because this is what is causing the problem,” he stressed.


He assured both companies of the support from the DENR and the Department of Public Works and Highways, which was represented during the meetings, and promised to sign the necessary permits or clearances.


            “The bottom line of the closure is because of the ‘cesspool’ problem. Our goal is to have Boracay known as having one of the cleanest waters in the world,” he stressed.


            The DENR secretary met with the companies on Tuesday after a visit to the BWIC’s treatment facilities, where he was accompanied by Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores and other DENR officials.  


He said he was pleased to observe clearer discharge water during a visit to the BWIC’s treatment facilities, and discussed other possible actions to fast track the cleanup of wastewater being discharged into the sea.


The BWIC agreed to set up interceptors that would trap any water from the drainage system and treat the water first before being discharged into the sea.


As for BTSI, Cimatu tasked the company to clean up the water around its facility in Sitio Lugotan in Barangay Manoc-Manoc and revive the mangrove forest in the area.


He also lauded BTSI’s proposal to sponsor a water quality management area where stakeholders themselves would monitor the quality of a water body and initiate efforts to maintain its cleanliness.


                 BTSI President James Molina expressed all-out support to the government’s effort to  transform Boracay “from cesspool to successful”. ###

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