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VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY!

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Boracay keeps getting better a year after it started undergoing rehabilitation, according to Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Much has changed in Boracay since we started and I am happy that we are able to sustain the gains we achieved since we reopened in October last year,” Cimatu said on April 26, which is exactly one year since the resort island was closed to the public for six months to pave the way for its rehabilitation from serious environmental damage.

Cimatu, who heads the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) in charge of the island’s rehabilitation, said the coliform level in Boracay waters “has significantly gone down,” based on the latest water quality monitoring done by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau.

The environment chief noted that the highest coliform level recorded was only 40 most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100 ml). The safe level is 100 mpn/100 ml for Class SB water that is suitable for swimming, skin diving and other recreational activities.

He also reported that there had been “no algae year-round,” indicating that “it is really the dirty water which is causing what used to be a natural occurrence.”

Cimatu said the entire stretch of Boracay’s White Beach is already safe for swimming, and he was hoping the Bulabog Beach, which is now solely used for water sports, will also be declared “swimmable” soon.

So far, Cimatu said 51 establishments along the White Beach have their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) while others are now connected to the sewer line. Forty-two establishments in other areas of the island opted to have their own STPs, he added.

He said demolition orders have been served to establishments violating the 25+ 5 meter easement rule along the White Beach and Bulabog Beach, almost all of them chose to self-demolish. Those who violated the 12-meter road easement were also ordered to remove their illegal structures.

Cimatu said the construction of the Circumferential Road will continue. “Last year, it would take tourists an hour to reach their hotels because of traffic congestion. Now it would only take 20 minutes because of the paved and cleared roads,” he said.

At present, the road from Cagban Port to Hue hotel is now 95 percent finished; Hue Hotel to the Elizalde property is 95 percent done; and what is called the Missing Gap is also 95 percent completed.

Plans are also underway to make Cagban Jetty Port an all-year round port. Previously, it was only used during the Amihan or dry season from November to April as an alternate to Tagbisaan Jetty Port, which is used during Habagat or wet season from May to October.

Despite these achievements, Cimatu said more needs to be done for Boracay to ensure its sustainability as a world-class ecotourism destination.

“Although we have reopened Boracay to global tourism, the rehabilitation of Boracay is not yet complete and remains a work in progress,” he said.

“What we have accomplished thus far has earned commendations, but building sustainability requires time as well as the continuing support of the people of Boracay,” he added.

The government, through the BIATF, is commemorating the first anniversary of the much-publicized closure of Boracay with a week-long celebration promoting the conservation and sustainability.

Low-key activities were lined up for the first-ever “Sustainability Week,” which runs from April 26 to May 1.

The BIATF wanted to keep the observance of “Sustainability Week” simple and without much fanfare, unlike the infamous “Laboracay” which used to be celebrated every Labor Day weekend.

Laboracay was an annual event where beach parties were held to draw people to Boracay. Tourist arrivals tend to peak around this time.

For the Sustainability Week, the BIATF has identified activities that would distribute crowds to pocket events at different locations on the island, particularly in plazas, gyms, and other spaces.

No parties would be allowed on the beachfront. All activities are also scheduled only until 12 midnight.

The BIATF reminds those in the island to maintain cleanliness, which will be strictly monitored by enforcers from the DENR-LAWIN and the Malay-Solid Waste teams.

Tourists and guests can test their taste buds in a nightly banchetto food festival sponsored by the Boracay Foundation along Laketown Road. They can also register to avail of free rides that will ferry them from D’Mall to other event locations.

Other activities during the week-long celebration include Zumba sessions, paraw-sailing and dive festivals, Ati-atihan parade, sports competition, symposiums and mini-concerts. ###

 

Government efforts to make Boracay a sustainable ecotourism destination received a major boost with the donation of five units of solar-powered vehicles to be used for patrolling and rescue service within and around the world-famous resort island.

The vehicles—one patrol boat, three e-bikes and one ambulance—were donated by Star 8 Green Technology Corp. and Southwest Travel and Tours to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The donation was covered by a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by the two companies and the DENR, the lead agency in the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) that is in charge of Boracay’s rehabilitation.

BIATF chair and DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu thanked the two companies for their initiative as he promised the government will take care of the vehicles.

Cimatu said the donated vehicles would “not only help sustain enforcement and sustainability efforts, but also minimize air and noise pollution in Boracay.”

Star 8 chief executive officer Jacob Maimonsaid the vehicle donation is their “way of helping maintain a green environment in the island.”

Each e-bike has a speed of 100 kilometer per hour and a range of 150 kilometers prior to charging, while the ambulance has a maximum speed of 90 kph and a 120-km range.

The e-banca, on the other hand, has a speed of 5 knots and can run continuously for 8 hours before charging.

Southwest will provide operational and maintenance support services for the upkeep of the units for a period of two years from the date of the turnover. ###

Napaigting ang mga pagsusumikap ng pamahalaan na gawing sustainable ecotourism destination ang Boracay nang makatanggap ng limang solar-powered vehicles na gagamitin
sa pagpapatrolya at rescue service sa sikat ng isla.

Ang mga sasakyan – isang patrol boat, tatlong e-bikes, at isang ambulansya – ay binigay ng Star 8 Green Technology Corp at ng Southwest Travel and Tours sa Department
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Ang donasyon ay sinakop ng isang Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) na nilagdaan ng dalawang kumpanya at ng DENR na siyang nangunguna sa Boracay Inter-agency Task
Force (BIATF) sa pagpapanumbalik ng sigla ng Boracay.

Kasama ni DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu na lumagda sa MOA sina Star 8 Green Technology Corporation President Jacob Maimon at Southwest Travel and Tours President
Cedric Sazon. Ginanap ang pirmahan ng kasunduan noong Abril 25 sa Boracay.

Base sa MOA, nag-donate ang Star 8 Green Technology Corporation ng isang unit ng solar-powered patrol boat, tatlong unit ng electric bike at isang unit ng solar-powered medical
rescue van o ambulance.

Nakasaad pa sa sa kasunduan, gagamitin ang solar-powered banca sa pagpapatrolya sa mga baybayin ng isla, ang tatlong unit naman ng electric bike ay magagamit sa pagbibigay ng
seguridad sa kalupaan, habang ang medical rescue van ay para sa disaster and rescue operation.

Tungkulin naman ng Southwest Travel and Tours ang pagbibigay ng operation at maintenance support para sa mga ibinigay na donasyon ng Star 8 Green Technology
Corporation sa loob ng dalawang taon.

Sasagutin naman ng DENR ang mga gastos sa pagpapagawa at pagpapalit ng piyesa ng mga ipinagkaloob na donasyon mula sa Star 8 Green Technology Corporation at maaari
lamang gamitin ang mga ito sa mga paraan na nakasaad sa MOA.

Bilang chairman ng Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF), pinasalamatan ni Cimatu ang dalawang kumpanya.

Sinabi rin ni Cimatu: “The donated vehicles will not only help sustain enforcement and sustainability efforts, but also minimize air and noise pollution in Boracay.”
Sinabi naman ni Star 8 chief executive officer Jacob Maimon na ang pagdonasyon nila ng mga nasabing sasakyan “is their way of helping maintain a green environment in the
island.”

Ang e-bike ay may speed na 100 kilometer per hour at range na 150 kilometers bago muling i-charge, samantalang ang ambulansya ay may maximum speed na 90 kph.
Ang solar-powered na patrol boat naman ay may speed na 5 knots, at tumatagal ng 8 oras bago ire-charge. ###