An inter-agency task force led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is all set to replicate the “Boracay model of rehabilitation” in Palawan province and other top tourist destinations in the country.
In a press conference, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the DENR, together with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), is ready to go full blast with the rehabilitation of other tourist spots, particularly Palawan’s El Nido and Coron.
“As the rehabilitation efforts in Boracay are ongoing until December, we decided to continue the President’s mandate to check the other top tourist destinations in the country,” said Cimatu, who heads the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force in charge of rehabilitating the world-famous island.
Cimatu made the announcement following a closed-door meeting with DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año held at the DENR central office in Quezon City.
The DENR chief promised that he will “dedicate a large portion of the DENR presence in Palawan” to focus on the rehabilitation of El Nido and Coron.
“We have to maintain Palawan as the last ecological frontier of the country,” Cimatu said.
He, however, clarified that El Nido and Coron will not be closed down to tourists just like what the government did to Boracay, which underwent a six-month rehabilitation before it was reopened last October 26.
Instead, he said that only the establishments with violations will be shut down.
Aside from Palawan, the task force will also visit Panglao Island in Bohol and Siargao in Surigao del Norte next week, Cimatu said.
“Since we have already started in Boracay, let’s continue these rehabilitation efforts for the sake of the Philippines and the Filipino people, so that they can have something to be proud of,” Cimatu said.
Meanwhile, Cimatu said he already instructed the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau to check the water quality in El Nido.
He revealed that a study on El Nido’s carrying capacity will also be conducted.
Just like in Boracay, Cimatu said the DENR will make sure that all establishments in El Nido will be required to have sewage and wastewater treatment facilities. ###