Gov't task force says TIEZA sole regulator of Boracay's water utilities

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2018 01:40 PM

A father and his child go for a walk on the beach in Boracay on August 14, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) will be the sole regulator of tourist island Boracay's water utilities, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Wednesday. 

Because of this, authorities may now determine how to divide the island between existing water utilities, the Ayala Group's Boracay Island Water Inc and taipan Lucio Tan's Boracay Tubi Systems Inc.

Before the 6-month shutdown of the island began in April to give way to rehabilitation efforts, both TIEZA and the National Water Resources Board were claiming to be Boracay's water regulator.

TIEZA is an implementing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), particularly in "providing support infrastructures and facilitating investments in tourism enterprise zones." 

The DENR is one of the government agencies under a task force leading the rehabilitation of Boracay. 

Massive pollution on the island, one of the country's top beach destinations, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to enforce a half-year shutdown to make way for an island-wide cleanup. 

The island has been grappling with sewage woes, haphazard development and overcrowding. 

Cimatu said the government will first hold a dry-run for Boracay's reopening on October 15 before the island's "full-blast opening" on October 26.

“We hope that 19,000 na ang carrying capacity that time (for tourists),” he said.

He added that several personnel will be sent to Boracay as “enforcers of environment” to ensure that policies are enforced properly.

Earlier, the DOT said only up to 5,000 hotel rooms may be ready and compliant with environment regulations on the day of the island's reopening to tourists. 

--report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News