MANILA - Boracay officials on Thursday said they would step up their information campaign on the "do's and don'ts" for tourists visiting the island in the wake of a defecation incident.
“This move should send a strong message to local and foreign tourists to uphold the government’s advocacy for sustainable tourism and to observe the rules and regulations being implemented while enjoying the island paradise,” Natividad Bernardino, director of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG), said in a statement.
A foreign national had allegedly let her child defecate on the beach at Boracay's station 1, as shown in a viral social media post earlier this week.
Bernardino said the BIARMG is considering new measures for tourists to comply with rules and regulations in Boracay, particularly the anti-littering ordinance that prohibits littering, urinating, defecating, spitting and dumping trash in public places.
“We are planning to give pamphlets through the airline on the do’s and don’ts on the island especially on the proper way to throw garbage and the policy against defecation at the Boracay beach,” Bernardino said.
The official said they are also mulling the inclusion of other foreign languages for signages against littering, smoking and carrying glass bottles.
“Majority of the foreign visitors are from China and South Korea,” Bernardino noted.
“Considering the great proportion of Chinese and Korean visitors relative to the total number of Boracay’s visitors, we should now perhaps include the Chinese and Korean languages in the signages, which presently carry warnings only in English.”
Records from the Malay Municipal Tourism Office in Boracay show that out of the 619,934 tourists who visited Boracay from Jan. 1 to April 15 this year, 357,041 are foreigners, majority of whom are Chinese and Koreans.
Bernardino said the foreigners featured in the viral video are examples of "irresponsible" tourists "who have no respect for Boracay, the locals and their fellow tourists."
“Although it may be considered an isolated incident, we are nonetheless taking this seriously, which is why my office is seeking out to the person who uploaded the video so that substantial information can be made and appropriate actions can be taken on the matter,” Bernardino said.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier instructed Bernardino to locate the tourists in the viral clips and file charges for violating an environment ordinance.