By Jun Aguirre, BusinessMirror
BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan—The six-month closure of the world-renowned resort island Boracay that started on April 26 is considered by many as a bitter pill that would have a long impact and could set a new direction in tourism industry in this region and in the country.
Acs Aldaba, operations manager of the Boracay Island Water Corp. (BIWC), said the existing water-pollution problems that had led Malacañang to temporarily close Boracay have been the same as those it has been encountering in the past 10 years. The BIWC is the major supplier of water on the island, which has around six, 311 water and sewer connections.
President Duterte described the waters off Boracay as a “cesspool” which led him order its closure. “The lesson from this closure is that we have to respond to the needs of Boracay,” Aldaba said. “We also see a need to increase environmental awareness for sustainability among all sectors.”
BIWC, which has been supplying water to Boracay for several years now, said it has underestimated the water supply needs of the island.
It noted that the residents failed to differentiate drainage and waste water, thus the need for a massive information, education and awareness campaign.
“We see the Boracay situation similar to the case of a rape victim wherein she/he has been abused yet nobody is admitting the crime,” Aldaba noted.
Currently, the BIWC is working to complete a network of sewers and drainage until 2022.
“We see Boracay as the first island in the country with centralized drainage and sewer system,” she said. The Philippines archipelago has over 7,000 islands.
Malay Councilor Floribar Bautista, chairman of the municipal council committee on public works, said the local government has also learned its lesson. Boracay Island is under the geographical area of Malay, Aklan.
“We realized that there were several documents which [showed] the local government [was assigned] to do certain tasks but they were not done properly. The local government will surely do the work continuously for the environmental sustainability of Boracay once it reopens,” Bautista said.
Among the supposed tasks of the local government was to oversee the inspection of the drainage system of the island.
According to the national government, Boracay may be reopened after six months in order to enable it to recover from stresses from human and development activities.
Several hotels and restaurants on the island, although unprepared with the closure, have come up with different coping schemes.
Richel Ann Guarino, manager of the Philippine Business Bank (PBB), said the Yao Group of Cos. has not displaced any worker during the six-month period. Besides the PBB, the Yao Group also owns a resort in the area.
The PBB is open during the six-month duration.
Earlier, San Miguel Corp., which manages the Caticlan Airport, has expressed commitment to keep all its employees during the period.
At the same time, some hotels have decided to help their employees cope during the closure.
Based on a survey, the Paradise Garden has allowed its employees to make a loan with the hotel. The Willys Rock has also given each of its employees a modest amount as separation pay.
The G Executive Hotel is keeping its employees but they were asked to cook and sell food for the workers involved in the rehabilitation of the resort island.
By Jun Aguirre, BusinessMirror
originally posted at https://businessmirror.com.ph/some-lessons-learned-from-boracays-closure/