Sails serve as the canvass for local artists during the 3rd Paraw Biniray Festival, one of the events during the first Boracay Sustainability Week celebration from April 26 to May 1. — DENR PHOTO
DEPARTMENT OF Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has outlined the continuing projects for Boracay as the island resort marked the first year anniversary of its six-month closure in 2018 starting April 26. “Much has changed in Boracay since we started and I am happy that we are able to sustain the gains we achieved since we reopened in October last year,” Mr. Cimatu, head of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) in charge of the rehabilitation program, said in a statement. Among the goals moving forward, he said, is declaring the Bulabog Beach, currently used solely for water sports, as “swimmable.” He cited that the entire stretch of Boracay’s White Beach is already safe for swimming with the coliform level down to a maximum of 40 most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100 ml). The safe level is 100 mpn/100 ml for Class SB water that is suitable for swimming, skin diving and other recreational activities. Mr. Cimaty also reported that there had been “no algae year-round,” indicating that “it is really the dirty water which is causing what used to be a natural occurrence.” Plans are also underway to make Cagban Jetty Port an all-year round port. It is currently used during the Amihan or dry season from November to April as an alternate to Tagbisaan Jetty Port, which is used during Habagat or wet season from May to October. “Although we have reopened Boracay to global tourism, the rehabilitation of Boracay is not yet complete and remains a work in progress,” he said, “What we have accomplished thus far has earned commendations, but building sustainability requires time as well as the continuing support of the people of Boracay.” The BIATF is leading the celebration of the first Sustainability Week on the island from April 26 to May 1, which is intended to highlight responsible tourism in contrast to the “Laboracay” of the past, the annual Labor Day weekend marked by grand beach parties.