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Creation of Boracay Island Development Authority proposed

CATICLAN, MALAY, AKLAN, Philippines – A man unloads at the Caticlan beach a haul of recyclables that were collected from the nearby world-famous island of Boracay, July 2012 file image. Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the creation of a Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) that will safeguard the island’s natural resources by cultivating a culture of sustainable development. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian is proposing the creation of a Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) to spearhead the rehabilitation and development of Boracay into a world-class sustainable tourism destination.

“The fact that the national government had to mobilize several departments to ‘save’ Boracay from its environmental woes shows that the current governance framework of Boracay is inadequate to address its unique ecological and regulatory needs,” said Gatchalian, a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Tourism.

Similar to the Intramuros Administration (IA), the attached agency of the Department of Tourism that runs the famous heritage site in Manila, the senator envisions BIDA as a separate administrative entity tasked to oversee the planning, development, and administration of the island.

To safeguard the environmental integrity of Boracay’s renowned beaches and waters, BIDA would be armed with strong regulatory and enforcement powers to ensure strict compliance with environmental laws and regulations regarding waste management, pollution, and marine life protection, among others.

The authority would also be tasked with cultivating a culture of sustainable development through its control over the permitting and licensing of construction and land use, regulation of commercial enterprises and tourist inflows, and the maintenance of roads and public utilities  – all in strict conformity to a long-term Boracay Development Master Plan.

“Through the Boracay Island Development Authority, we can transform Boracay into a sustainable world-class tourism haven that will be the envy of the entire world,” Gatchalian said.

“We won’t make the same mistakes with Boracay the second time around.”