Boracay beach (PNA photo)

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday asked for assistance from government authorities after the Boracay local government failed to control the number of its tourists that surpassed the carrying capacity during the Holy Week.

In a statement, the DOT said both the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have been “apprised of the breach.”

“We continue our coordination with them, especially the DILG which has jurisdiction over the LGU (local government unit), to address this concern and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,” the DOT said.

The number of tourists that arrived in Boracay reached 21,252 on April 14 and 22,519 on April 15—well over Boracay’s 19,215 carrying capacity.

The local government of Malay, Aklan—which holds jurisdiction over Boracay—is yet to respond to the allegations.

The province of Aklan is still under the Alert Level 1 due to Covid-19 pandemic.

In October 2021, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu eyed the possibility of expanding Boracay’s carrying capacity, noting that the island’s rehabilitation may have boosted its capacity to accommodate tourists.

In 2018, the government began the rehabilitation of Boracay and issued Executive Order (EO) no. 53 series of 2018 that created the DENR-led Inter-Agency Task Force to facilitate the rehabilitation and ensure ecological sustainability on the island.

The task force was later extended by EO 115 series of 2020 to operate until May 8, 2021 and was again extended by EO 147 series of 2021 to operate until June 30, 2022. (PNA)