MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s political will is the key factor why the national government has successfully rehabilitated Boracay island in 2018 within six months, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said on Thursday, September 16.
The veteran Aklanon politician emphasized that the administration of Pres. Duterte led the historic rehabilitation of the island and created the first Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to maintain the picturesque beauty of the island as the country’s top tourist destination.
“Matagal na ako rito sa serbisyo Secretary Martin sa probinsya ng Aklan, marami na ring administrasyon ang dumaan pero ito lang ang masasabi ko – it was only President Duterte nagkaroon ng political will na ayusin ang isla ng Boracay. [I have been here for a long time in the service, Secretary Martin, in the province of Aklan, many administrations have passed but this is all I can say – it was only President Duterte who had the political will to fix the island of Boracay.],” he said.
During the interview with Presidential Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar on Network Briefing News, Gov. Miraflores also shared that the President extended the validity of BIATF until June 2022 which is a good move to help tourism in the island to recover from the challenges brought by the pandemic.
“Malaki ang aming pasasalamat kay President Rodrigo Roa Duterte na kung saan ay inextend niya iyong term ng Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force. Ito ay ginawa o binuo ng ating mahal na Presidente para lang ma-rehabilitate ang isla ng Boracay. [We are very grateful to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for extending his term of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force. It was made or built by our dear President just to rehabilitate the island of Boracay.],” he added.
As the country’s prime destination for islands and beaches, the national government acted on the emerging problems that the province has been facing for years such as floods, no proper sewerage system in business establishments, narrow roads, and others.
“Noon nagkakaroon pa kami ng mga baha dito sa isang isla, kaya inayos iyong ating drainage system, iyong ating sewerage treatment plant ay ginawa rin. Ni-require ang lahat ng mga establishment sa front beach na magkaroon ng sariling sewerage treatment plant. [Back then we were still having floods here on an island, so our drainage system was fixed, our sewerage treatment plant was built as well. All front beach establishments are required to have their own sewerage treatment plant.],” Gov. Miraflores said.
For now, the island of Boracay is compliant with water quality assessed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resource. The 70-year-old governor also said that there are more floods in the island and roads were widened as part of its rehabilitation program in 2018.
“Boracay is now open for business iyong ating probinsya ay nagkaroon na ng general community quarantine status so we are allowed to receive visitors already. [Boracay is now open for business as our province is currently under general community quarantine status so we are allowed to receive visitors.],” he shared.
Assistance to Tourism Workers
Aside from the rehabilitation efforts, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Welfare and Development also extended their assistance to tourism workers of Boracay as the sector is one of the most hard-hit by the pandemic since last year.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is regularly distributing food packs to affected workers in the island.
“Malaki talaga ang epekto ng nangyayaring pandemic na ito sa aming main industry [which is] tourism. [This pandemic is really having a big impact on our main industry [which is] tourism.],” he admitted.
When Sec. Andanar asked about his personal message to President Duterte, Governor Miraflores expressed his gratitude once more for the continued support of the national government to the Province of Aklan and to the revival of the tourism industry in the island through the extension of the validity of BIATF until next year.
“Buo ang aking pasasalamat kay President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa kanyang pag-extend ng termino ng ating Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, malaking bagay po ito sa ating probinsya at turismo na maayos natin at ma-protect natin ang ating environment ng isla ng Boracay. [I am fully grateful to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for extending the term of our Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, it is a big thing for our province and tourism that we can fix and protect our environment on the island of Boracay.],” he said.