Boracay rehabilitation would take years, urban planner says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2018 12:00 AM

MANILA—Architect and urban planner Felino Palafox on Saturday said rehabilitating Boracay would take years, way past the island's total closure from tourists of 6 months.

"Six months probably corrective measures lang sa mga violator, but it will take more years," Palafox told radio DZMM.

Palafox said his firm has been commissioned by the local government of Malay to create a rehabilitation plan for the island. However, they have not yet been tapped by the national government.

"September ho deadline namin sa local government, we’re sharing 100 recommendations," he said.

Palafox also shared his firm's plan for the island, which includes a 7-kilometer tramway. 

"When we do plans required to be good for 15 years, what we do is good for a hundred years. This is more of a vision plan, then we work backwards, long-term, medium-term, short-term and immediate action. 'Yung ginagawa ngayon immediate action na.
We even proposed a tram, 7 kilometers lang back and forth. Wala na dapat 'yung polluting vehicles," he said.

"And then if there's social acceptance, even cable cars in the sky to connect the three islands: Northern Aklan, Boracay, and Carabao. And one advantage is you can see above the beauty of the place, and also the violators."

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Palafox maintained his stance against the proposed construction of a casino-resort in Boracay.

"Ilagay mo sa Malay, sa mainland. Anyway, gamblers they don’t need to see the beach," he said.

Palafox also urged local residents of the island to report violators of environmental laws.

" 'Yung nangyari sa Boracay, hindi mangyayari 'yan sa Singapore. Kasi sa Singapore, may stagnant water kapitbahay mo, isusumbong ka. Naiingayan kapitbahay mo, isusumbong ka. Sa Boracay walang nagsusumbong. Ngayon na lang nagsusumbungan sila. In fact, sumbungan pa ko, 'di naman ako taga-gobyerno," he said.

"Private sector, with the social media, dapat we have a strong sense of citizenship. Isumbong mo 'yung violators."

The veteran architect said the number of tourists allowed on the island should be limited.

"Dapat i-limit ang tourists 'pag sumobra na, parang sa Underground River sa Puerto Princesa. Sometimes by 11 o’clock they don’t allow any more. Let’s establish the carrying capacity," he said.

"I think 2010, 700,000 visitors ang Boracay. Last year, 2 million na. Without sewer and all, I think wala pa siguro dapat ng 500,000 a year. Kaya you have to upgrade the utilities to carry the population."

Boracay, known for its powdery white sand, will be closed from tourists for a maximum of 6 months starting April 26.