(File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed an executive order (EO) extending again the term of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) until June next year.

Under EO 147, the BIATF will be deemed dissolved on June 30, 2022, “unless extended or sooner terminated by the President.”

The BIATF, created by virtue of EO 53 signed by Duterte on May 18, 2018, was tasked to facilitate the rehabilitation and ensure the ecological sustainability of the famous island of Boracay.

The task force’s term was supposed to end two years after its creation, but it was extended until May 8, 2021 through EO 115.

Duterte extended anew the BIATF’s term for one more year upon the task force’s recommendation to “ensure completion of the remaining milestones of the Boracay Action Plan until 2022.”

“The Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic and the imposition of community quarantine measures have resulted in unprecedented delays and massive disruptions on the implementation of critical programs and projects based on the key thematic areas of the Boracay Action Plan,” EO 147 read.

Boracay was closed to tourists from April to Sept. 2018 to pave the way for a massive rehabilitation of the island.

The BIATF has issued laws and local ordinances to address the environmental problems that have long been plaguing the island.

Since the creation of the task force, it has made various accomplishments to reverse Boracay’s ecological degradation, according to EO 147.

Based on the new EO, around 80 percent or 271 out of 339 establishments in Boracay are now compliant with the “25 + five-meter beach easement,” while 83 percent or 1,017 of 1,230 total structures are now compliant with the “12-meter road easement.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, EO 147 said, has also prepared 163 cases against illegal occupants of forestlands. Fifty-four of the 163 cases have been filed in court by the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation, and one by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Aklan and Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Boracay.

According to the EO, the Environmental Management Bureau has also filed a total of 262 cases before the Pollution Adjudication Board, 160 of which have already resulted in settlement of fines.

The ambient water quality monitoring has also found that all beaches, except at the Tulubhan outfall, are now “Class SB-compliant," which means that they are suitable for recreational activities.

“Ninety-six percent of accommodation establishments adjacent to the White beach with 40 rooms and above, and 95 percent of accommodation establishments outside the White beach with rooms 50 and above, have satisfactorily constructed their individual Sewerage Treatment Plants,” the order read.

EO 147 added that two wetlands in Boracay have been fully recovered from illegal settlers, as part of the ongoing rehabilitation of all the nine wetlands of the island.

The 10-year Sold Waste Management Plan and Cave Management Plan have likewise been approved and their implementation is continuously being monitored.

Phases 1 and 2 of the rehabilitation and improvement of the Boracay Circumferential Road have also been completed in 2020, while Phase 3 is ongoing, and Phase 4 is planned to be implemented in 2022, the EO said.

“Fifty-seven percent of Phase 2 of the Boracay Drainage Improvement Project, under the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, has been completed,” it added. (PNA)