Boracay task force seeks one-year extension

Boracay task force seeks one-year extension

ILOILO CITY – The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) is seeking a one-year extension of its term in the absence of a bill creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA), which is still pending in Congress.

“We unanimously endorse this proposal, the extension of the term for the task force for another one year,” Environment Secretary and task force chair Roy Cimatu said in a virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon.

The BIATF was created under Executive Order (EO) 53 and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018 with a term of two years. It was amended through EO 115 extending their term until April this year.

The document seeking another extension has been submitted to the Office of the President, Cimatu added.

Meantime, Cimatu said the task force stands by its proposal for the BIDA to serve as a regulatory body rather than a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

“Whatever is the BIDA, it should be environmental oriented,” he said.

Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores also thanked Cimatu for seeking the extension.

“Also for supporting our position in the province that if there is a more permanent body to supervise the operations to protect the island, an authority that should only be a regulatory body. We oppose the proposal that the authority should be a government-owned and controlled corporation,” the governor said.

As a GOCC, he added, BIDA will violate lot of provisions of the Constitution and the local government code and it “goes against the thrust of the national government for more local autonomy”.

Local government officials oppose the latest version of the BIDA bill that seeks to create a body that will govern Boracay Island.

Miraflores hoped that Congress would listen to them, as he added that “they all have the good intentions”.

He said that they support for the task force to “continue its life in the meantime that a regulatory body is still pending in Congress”.

Cimatu said the rehabilitation of Boracay was not completed this year as per their target due to the pandemic and other disturbances in their time frame.

Among those needing to be done is the relocation of informal settlers occupying the timberland that was deferred as a “gesture of humanitarian consideration” due to the pandemic and the transfer of workers in Boracay to the mainland to decongest the island and increase its carrying capacity.

However, the accomplishment for road projects was pegged at 70 percent while the compliance to the required beach easement was at 80 percent. (PNA)

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