Water sports and activities will be temporarily banned in Boracay once the island paradise reopens in October, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Friday, weeks before its expected reopening.
Anchors, divers, and other water activities have contributed to the destruction of corals and marine biodiversity in Boracay because these were unregulated for the past 20 years, Environment Usec. Sherwin Rigor told reporters.
About 2,000 to 3,000 tourists who swim and engage in water activities in Boracay every day contribute to the degradation of the island's marine life, he said.
"Hindi po muna natin papayagan 'yung any activities sa waters para hindi muna ma-disturb 'yung ecosystem at iche-check muna natin 'yung mga corals," Rigor said.
"Coral area noon 'yan, lively 'yung ecosystem [but] right now, completely dead," he said.
The DENR is planning to put up "artificial corals" or try "coral gardening" to rehabilitate Boracay's reefs, he said.
The government will also designate spots for each of Boracay's 6 water sports organizations to ensure that the waters will not be too crowded.
"There were reports na 'yung mga swimmer o mga naliligo ay nasasagasaan ng mga maliliit na bangka plying across the beach front," Rigor said.
"We need to discipline them and zone them on the area... kaya hindi po muna natin isasama sa opening," he said.
Boracay was temporarily closed to tourists in April after the government decided to rehabilitate the island and cleanse its "cesspool" waters.