Approaches to the sewage problem of Boracay pushed



By Rose de la Cruz


Now that the sewage problem of Boracay—the famed long white sand beaches of the Visayas—has been laid open by President Duterte, who even warned of shutting it down, practical and doable approaches were proposed by Rep. Michael Romero of 1PACMAN partylist and assistant majority leader.


The measures include immediate, medium term and long-term solutions to restore the glory that was Boracay, which is now riddled with effluents from household sewages.


Romero said the tourism industry and local governments in Boracay has long neglected sustainability concerns that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, environmentalists and researchers had long warned about.


It has taken no less than President Duterte himself to finally shock them into reality. Will we have to wait until hundreds of tourists get sick when they ingest contaminated waters of Boracay? The time for action, indeed, is now.


The immediate actions include:  a) scientific water testing with appropriate audit controls; b) identification of the specific coastal and inland areas of Boracay where water contamination is most hazardous to least problematic; c) cordoning of the medium and high-risk areas while keeping open to tourists the low-risk and minimal risk areas; d) Mobilization of barangays and residents for massive and regular coastal clean-up and inland waste segregation—using the work for pay scheme; e) high-risk areas in Boracay be declared calamity zones to allow government to tap calamity funds to help residents whose employment/livelihood will be affected; f) forming and deploying multisectoral task force, including volunteers from environment groups and local resident, working together in cooperation and common purpose and g) deploying portable water purification systems to medium-risk and high risk areas.


For the medium term, he proposed: a) sewerage infrastructure programs for the coastal towns and inland barangays of Boracay; b) capability-upgrading for LGUs and tourism establishments in Boracay on sanitation and sustainable development program implementation; c) audit and upgrading (if necessary) of Boracay health facilities for capability to respond to water-borne diseases; d) declaring parts of Boracay as protected areas and e) including in the 2019 budget the necessary provisions for Boracay's environmental and sustainable development.



Finally, his long- term proposals are: a) installing/building the Boracay sewerage and sanitation system in segments or phases starting in late 2018/2019 and to complete the system in two to three years and b) building the necessary support systems including roads and transport facilities to improve Boracay as the country’s premier tourist destination.

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Friday, 21 September 2018
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