The proposed Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA), one agency which the government-owned and controlled-corporation (GOCC) wants overseeing the management of Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan, was junked by tourism stakeholders.
One Boracay, composed of various organizations representing about 20,000 members, said that BIDA as a GOCC has powers and functions that will duplicate and overlap with those already vested upon by the national government agencies.
In an open letter sent to President Duterte recently, they stated that it is repugnant to the very essence of federalism advocated and espoused by the president himself.
They are calling for the extension of the Boracay Inter Agency Task Force (BIATF) that Duterte created following the half-year closure of the resort island in April 2018, instead of BIDA.
They said BIATF has been mandated to ensure sustainability of the long-term rehabilitation of Boracay, as damage to its environment due to decades of unregulated development and neglect, persists.
They also said that BIATF is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the local government of Malay, and the provincial government of Aklan.
Should BIDA push through, the stakeholders feared that there would be no participation from them, which would violate the Local Government Code.
Their letter was also sent to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and is signed by presidents of organizations representing Boracay travel agencies, tour operators, watersport associations, boat owners, van owners, tricycle owners, photographers, vendors, local fishermen, the indigenous peoples (IPs), and the Muslim community and was also signed by officials of the three barangays in the resort island.
Photo: Business World