DENR mulls allowing more tourists in Boracay Island

By Catherine Teves

October 22, 2021, 7:46 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo) </em></p>

(PNA file photo) 

MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking into the possibility of increasing Boracay Island's carrying capacity so more people can visit this world-famous tourist destination.

Boracay's carrying capacity at present is about 19,000 people daily but it's time to study such matter as the government-led rehabilitation of the island resort considerably improved conditions so even previously shunned areas there are beginning to attract tourists, according to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

"If there's a study, the carrying capacity might be increased," he said Friday during a virtual press conference on tourism in Boracay Island.

Cimatu said he will ask DENR's Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) to study if the number of people who visited Boracay increased, noting the rehabilitation boosted this island's capacity to accommodate tourists.

He said tourists mainly flocked to Boracay's western portion before the government began rehabilitating the island.

"This time, however, there are tourists even in Boracay's eastern portion," he said.

He noted such portion used to be notorious for its cesspool-like beach and waters.

"It's clean there already," he said.

He added that the eastern portion already has tourist facilities as well.

In 2018, the government began rehabilitating Boracay Island to prevent further environmental degradation there.

Among the government's rehabilitative activities in Boracay are cleaning up waters, enforcing easement requirements, and improving solid waste management.

Executive Order no. 53 series of 2018 created DENR-led Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to facilitate rehabilitation and ensure ecological sustainability in the island.

BIATF was supposed to exist for two years only but EO 115 series of 2020 extended this task force's term for another year, enabling it to operate until May 8, 2021.

However, EO 147 series of 2021 extended BIATF's term to June 30, 2022. (PNA)