DENR recovers encroached wetland in Boracay

Nony Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2020 01:08 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2020 01:58 PM

DENR recovers encroached wetland in Boracay 1
The “Dead Forest” at Barangay Manoc-manoc in Boracay Island was cleared by environment authorities on Tuesday. DENR-6 handout photo

BORACAY, Aklan—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has cleared the 8.5-hectare wetland number 6 located at Barangay Manoc-manoc, known as the “Dead Forest” of Boracay Island.

The DENR removed 31 families belonging to Tumandok tribe and transferred them Tuesday to a permanent relocation site that was awarded to them by the government.

Restoration work at the wetland will start soon, according to Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Natividad Bernardino.

The recovery of Wetland No.6 was in compliance with the Executive Order (EO) 53 which is the creation of the DENR-led Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to save the world-famous island resort.

Under the said EO issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, the DENR is tasked to relocate and demolish establishments and structures encroaching on forestlands, wetlands, and other water bodies in Boracay Island.

Consequently, the planned rehabilitation of the wetlands will give chance to the original settlers of the island to get their rightful share of Boracay lands.

“This is also a fulfillment on the policy directive of the President to distribute lands to the indigenous people of Boracay,” Bernardino said.

The 31 Tumandok families were formally relocated to the lands covered by the Certificate of Land Ownership Awards or CLOAs issued to them by the Department of Agrarian Reform. 

The DENR also provided them with timber from trees uprooted by Typhoon Ursula last December 2019 for the construction of their houses. Water and sewerage facilities will also be installed by Boracay Island Water Company.

The restoration of Wetland No. 6 will be undertaken by the Lucio Tan-controlled water concessionaire Boracay Tubi System Inc., in accordance with the Boracay Action Plan being implemented by the BIARMG. 

Of the 9 Boracay wetlands identified for rehabilitation, five have been adopted by private companies for a period of three to five years as part of their corporate social responsibility programs.

Last year, Wetland No. 4 located in Central Boracay was also successfully recovered by the DENR and converted into a linear park by the Aboitiz Group. The one-hectare lagoon situated right across D’Mall, one of the busiest areas on the island, is now called Balabag Wetland Park. It has a plaza and perimeter boardwalk, and is adorned with plants and trees.

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