Boracay must be run by 'development authority,' tourism chief says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2018 04:34 PM

Boracay Island. Rhys Buccat, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo told lawmakers Friday that she wanted a "development authority" to run Boracay, as lawmakers investigated concerns pollution turned it into a "cesspool."

Asked by Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the environment and natural resources committee, if she wanted a legislation to allow the department to "interfere" in Boracay, Teo nodded.

"Once Boracay is fixed, we would like that we have this ‘Boracay Development Authority’ para maayos na ang Boracay (so that Boracay will remain orderly)," Teo said.

Authority over the master plan for Boracay has rested on local government officials under a law passed in 1991 and the tourism department was limited to coordination work and promoting the island, Teo said.

President Rodrigo Duterte last month threatened to shut down Boracay, saying pollution had turned it into a "cesspool." This prompted an inter-agency cleanup in the island famous for its fine white sand and blue waters.

Senator Miguel Zubiri said while legislation for the DOT's powers was still being deliberated. He said the department should also draft a master tourism proposal to "hit the ground running" and finish the rehabilitation within the Duterte administration.