EDITORIAL: Dabawenyos’ lessons from Boracay

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are now talking about  joint efforts to save Boracay Island  from continuous destruction.

It’s a good thing that DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu  are showing serious concern over the fact that the world famous  island is fast losing the balance between environmental conservation and tourism development.

Days ago, the two Cabinet officials  presided over a multi-sectoral meeting, including the island’s tourism stakeholders, to address pressing problems about on and offshore pollution, brought about by waste disposal.

“It’s a shame that Boracay, which has repeatedly been recognized by prestigious travel magazines as the World’s Most Beautiful Island, may yet end up a paradise lost if water contamination continues,” Teo said.

The DOT secretary is right in expressing her  concern over the sorry state of the island which right now is visited by some two million tourists yearly for sun and beach holiday, water sports, scuba diving all year round, contributing nearly P50 billion in annual receipts.

It would indeed be a pity if Boracay would be left to the elements and government would not make an honest-to-goodness effort to save from ruin.

Teo blamed the lack of proper sewerage system, as well as a number of business establishments that tap and dispose their waste through the rainwater drainage system all the way to the sea. Another major problem that prompted the on-site meeting is the alarming recurrence of flooding in most parts of the Boracay tourist hub, particularly the flash flooding that occurred during the typhoon Urduja recently.

Dabawenyos, who also have their own islands paradise such as the Island Garden City of Samal and  Talikud, can learn a lot from the experience of Boracay and avoid  suffering its current debilitating problems.

One of the things that the local government unit should have is a political will to enforce existing local ordinances and national environmental laws. Strict  law enforcement is an ideal beginning.