The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has adopted the proposed guidelines that aim to sustain and protect the world famous island once it reopens to tourists on October 26.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who chairs the task force, said the guidelines were laid down to ensure the rehabilitation works done during the past six months would not be set to naught.

“We cannot and will not let the influx of people destroy Boracay again or undo all the improvements and innovations that we have introduced and will be introducing,” Cimatu said.

The DENR chief said the guidelines would be translated into resolutions by concerned government agencies and could also be adopted into ordinances by the local government.

The guidelines include a regulation on tourist arrivals and number of persons allowed to stay in Boracay, in accordance with the island’s carrying capacity.

A study on Boracay’s carrying capacity had been undertaken earlier by the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, together with the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, Laguna.

According to the study, the island’s daily carrying capacity is 54,945, broken down into 19,215 tourists and 35,730 non-tourists, which refer to residents, migrants and stay-in workers.

However, the same study showed that the island’s existing population of more than 70,700 had already exceeded the carrying capacity by almost 30 percent.

With non-tourists making up the bulk of the population, the task force has been evaluating a proposed relocation facility in mainland Aklan for island workers, as well as a system for their daily travel to and from Boracay.

The BIATF also agreed to the DENR’s requirement for installation of individual sewage treatment plants for beachfront establishments with 40 rooms and above, and for lodgings in other areas with 50 or more rooms.

Those with less than 50 rooms, meanwhile, could connect to sewer lines provided by the island’s two water concessionaires.

To decongest Boracay’s roads, the task force approved the use of electric vehicles, provision of sidewalks and prohibited obstructions on them, and identified separate routes for tourists and logistical vehicles with up to six wheels or a weight of one ton.

A moratorium on the construction of new establishments stays, while those with ongoing works can continue as long as they follow existing ordinances.

Water sports, including diving, have been suspended momentarily to allow the completion of assessment activities on the island’s marine biodiversity. Their resumption will later be regulated.

The BIATF likewise declared a zero-waste policy in Boracay, where no waste would be retained on the island, but collected daily for disposal at an approved facility on the mainland.

The body also declared a ban on casinos and online gambling on the island. ###