Inside Boracay: Week 15 & 16
The Island is more than half-way to reopening and there are pockets of significant activity on the main road, as the big pipes start going in. Getting around the island is very difficult at the moment and if there was a shop open, dishing out water-proof mountain climbing boots for free, it would be very popular. Great news that DOLE has changed the requirements for BEEP AMP, making it easier for claimants, and being less prescriptive with the qualifying requirements.
- Boracay’s Main Road Closes ahead of pipe laying
- Islanders Disgust as Trike Fare Doubles from Caticlan Airport, Rice costs increase by 25%
- 2nd Batch of Cash for DSWD’s Work Program starts
- 192 housesholds on Boracay are without sanitary toilets
- Debates ongoing re Casino
- DOLE updates BEEP AMP requirements and establishes a Contact Center
- Boracay Lawyer offers free legal advice
- Claims that Boracay Hotels continue to discharge waste in to the sea
- DOT Region 6 announce only 30% hotel capacity on 26th October, without consultation or discussion with Stakeholders
- DENR signs MOA for Wetland 4 with The Aboitiz Group.
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – August 3. Complete Closure of Boracay’s Main Road: Cagban through to Lake Town
People in Bantud and Manoc Manoc have been cut off from accessing the main road up until Station 2 for some time. But from the 3rd August Full Closure to vehicles is enacted from Cagban through to Lake Town at D’Mall. Shops and businesses that are still open in Station 2 and 3 can now only be accessed by walking. People can either take a trike or bike to Kingfisher and walk to the main road, or they can walk along White Beach to get to Station 2 & 3 shops. White Beach’s pathway is also in upheaval, as the Drainage Pipe is being de-commissioned.
It is fair to say that Boracay is in her worst state yet and residents lives are in complete upheaval, with flooding, blackouts and days without fresh water. Simple tasks like buying vegetables, or visiting the bank, take several hours, with a lot of walking through dirt tracks and puddles involved. It is hard to imagine how the inside of the island will look at the end of the rehabilitation. It is hard to imagine that the island will look any different to what islanders have been witness to for the last few months. It is hard to imagine, right this moment, Boracay being the “jewel in the crown” once again. But there are a lot of very determined people ready to get this done and the island re-opened.
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – August 3 Red Cross Youth Boracay-Malay Chapter Beach Clean-up
Boracay’s Red Cross Youth Chapter joined with DOLE Workers, on the Cash for Work Program to do a beach clean-up. With the storms and bad weather, which have plagued the island for the last few weeks, there is a lot of rubbish being washed up on the beaches. Despite the regular ongoing beach clean ups that the DOLE & DSWD Workers are doing, the Red Cross Youth Chapter still managed to fill three full bags with rubbish. It was reported that most of the items were plastic straws, which can be so dangerous for our marine animals.
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – Trike Fare Hikes from Caticlan Airport
Residents are pretty disgusted by the behaviour of the trike Associations on the mainland. It is bad enough that there is only one flight a day in and out of Caticlan. But now residents of Boracay face two trike journey’s instead of one, and a quadrupled trike fare payment.
Prior to the closure, the Trike Fare from Caticlan Airport to the Jetty Port was 50PHP per trike. This increased to 80PHP during the closure, and then to 100PHP when the exit from the Airport was moved to out the back of the grounds at Nabas rather than from the old Arrivals Lounge. With the temporary closure of Caticlan Jetty Port, due to Habagat, and boats instead departing from Tabon Port the fare increased again to 150PHP per trike.
Now it appears that the Trike Associations have worked out a deal which is in both their favours, but certainly not in the interests of their passengers. Now people are required to pay 100PHP for a trike for the journey between the airport and the Caticlan Border. At the Border they have to get out of the trike and switch to another trike, paying a further 100PHP for a 2nd trike journey from the Caticlan Border to Tabon Port. What should be a simple journey has been made complicated, inconvenient and costs 4 times as much! The 50PHP fare has now increased to 200PHP each way in just 3 months.
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – Food Cost Hikes
Despite the DIT’s (Department of Trade and Industry) promises that they would ensure that islanders did not see price hikes for goods and services on the island, this has still happened.
Finn Ronne, who runs the Bleeding Hearts Club, supporting education access, and providing staple food to a particular island village, noted on a facebook post (13th August): “Delivering 25 kilos of rice for the children at the village………. The price of rice has increased almost 25 % in the last 6 months. Instead of 1000 Peso a sack, I paid 1250 Peso today, hard on the local residents and my club”
A supporter of Finns charity added that potatoes and onions are also double the price they were prior to closure
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – 5th August Department of Justice advises an uphill struggle for planned Boracay Casino
Justice Secretary, Menardo Guevarra, advised that Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. can not begin to proceed with building their Casino Resort when the island re-opens. Despite them holding a licence to operate from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
Guevarra added that the Reclassification of Land on the island, declared in 2008 by the Supreme Court as either Forest or Agricultural Land, would need to take place first. Philstar noted, in their article: – the Palace has recently announced that Duterte is planning to reclassify the island for land reform purposes. The President also insisted that he would not allow a casino to be built in Boracay. Read more at philstar.com Boracay casino project cant proceed
According to ABS CBN News, President Rodrigo Duterte stated (Wednesday 8th) that he does not want any NEW casino’s built in the Philippines: “I hate gambling. I don’t want it. There will be no casinos outside what is existing. I’m not granting anything.”
This, perhaps, answers the questions Boracay Residents have about the future of the existing casino’s on the island.
The Presidents comment was made during a discussion about his reasons for firing the whole Board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation. The Nayong Pilipino Foundation was established through Presidential Decree 37a, in 1972, to run and manage Nayong Pilipino; a ‘cultural theme park’ in Pasay. The recent firing of the Board was in response to the President learning about the terms of a Franchise Agreement with Landing International, for a $1.5 billion theme park in Parañaque’s Entertainment City.
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – 6th August, Boracay Lawyer offers free Legal Advice
“Atty Butch”, as he is known locally on Boracay, has put up a sign outside of his house offering free Legal Advice to indigent residents. “… as always, it is the small people who are bearing the brunt of the island’s closure and not the big businessmen who can very well weather the storm. This is what pains me most. It also hurts when I hear statements from well-meaning friends and acquaintances to the effect that the closure is necessary and “everybody has to sacrifice” to clean up the island. For the life of me, I do not understand what these non-residents have sacrificed.”
Lawyer Ari Ben Sebastian’s lengthy Facebook Post (which readers can view here) on the 6th August, included briefs on some of the legal issues being faced by legitimate but poor islanders. As well as unlawfully demolished properties, wrongful use of the State of Calamity Declaration, Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force seemingly over-extension of mandate/powers, Equal Protection of the Law in closing Boracay, etc.
Butch completed his statement with the following: “In closing, it should again be emphasized that it is not the big business owners that bear the brunt of the negative effects of the island’s closure. It is the regular employees, masseurs, boatmen, tricycle drivers and the like who are suffering immensely. The enrollment rate is down drastically since these people have to prioritize food over education. These people cannot restructure their loans. In fact, they have no access to the banking system. Their only recourse is to buy rice, sardines and instant noodles from the neighborhood sari-sari store on credit. And after several months, even these small stores have run out of supplies. These people are now starving!
I hope this leads to a more informed conversation on the sorry state of the island of Boracay. And please bear in mind that, if this can be done to our island, it can also be done to your community.”
Below are photos of the property of just one resident, who saw the land they have lived on more than halved. Her home and rental cottages have been demolished, without compensation, to make way for a new Circumferential Road on the island. The demolition is not due to any Ordinance that the resident had ‘violated’; this new Circumferential Road is an addition to the rehabilitation plans, and has affected many residents and businesses along Boracay’s famous Kite-Surf Strip.
Inside Boracay: Week 15 – 8th August 192 housesholds on Boracay are without sanitary toilets
Sanitary Inspector Babylyn Frondoza, of the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of Malay advised that, upon recent inspections conducted across the three Barangay’s, it was found that 192 households are without access to Sanitary Toilets. These are flushable toilets connected to a sewage system. Frondoza was speaking at a co-ordination meeting of the Department of Health (Region 6) for Boracay Rehabilitation Plan.
As a result, the DOH will release P5 Million in funds to the three Barangays, in order to build sanitary toilets for the identified households. The DOH is currently awaiting submissions of the Programs of Works, from each Barangay. Work is expected to start in August, in order to be completed ahead of the opening of Boracay on 26th October.
Inside Boracay: Week 16
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – 9th August DSWD distribute Food Relief Packs to residents.
Between 12-15,000 food boxes, coming from DSWD’s Central Office, have been given out to Boracay Residents. The distribution started in Yapak on Thursday 9th August; the start of Week 16 of closure. There were further distributions made on Friday 10th August in Balabag, and August 11 in Manoc Manoc.
Lisa Camacho, DSWD Regional Action Officer, region 6 advised that approximately 11,000 households, which have received the Disaster Assistance Family Assistance card (DAFAC) will qualify for the food boxes. The boxes contain 6kgs of rice, as well as canned meat and fish and other non-perishable food items.
The latest Food Aid delivery from DSWD’s Office was made possible with the help of Cebu Pacific, which began airlifting the Food boxes from Manila, back on 27th July. Cebu Pacific responded to the DSWD’s call for assistance. DSWD Secretary, Virginia N. Orogo said: “Since our major warehouse is here in Manila, the Department tries to find the best and fastest means to provide the needs of our DSWD Region VI in their disaster response operations. The response of Cebu Pacific Airlines to our request for help has greatly contributed to our objective of achieving ease of providing service to the affected residents and workers.”
DSWD’s Lisa Camacho also updated residents about the new administration location for people needing to apply for transportation, medical, education and burial assistance. This is now located at Eurotel Boracay, Station 2.
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – 10th August DOLE announces simpler guidelines for BEEP AMP Applications
DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) announced significant changes to the BEEP AMP (Boracay Emergency Employment Program, Adjustment Measures Program) application process. These changes have partly come about due to feedback from recipients and applicants, with regards to the original guidelines and processes, which made applications difficult to complete.
The changes are as follows:
- Boracay workers, regardless of their status, will receive ₱4,200 per month (or 50% of the monthly minimum wage for Region VI), for six months.
- This includes Retained Boracay workers who will receive P4,200 for six months (instead of P2,100 per month for a period of three months)
- BEEP beneficiaries will be required to submit two job contacts and one training for the whole six months duration (instead of monthly)
- BEEP beneficiaries can now receive their payment through M Lhuillier Financial Services, in addition to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) option.
11,000 Applications for the program have been approved already.
On the 13th August DOLE Region 6 advised they had launched a BEEP AMP Contact Center. Any affected Formal Sector Worker, who needs advice or assistance with their application, can:
Email at: email@example.com
Message at: DOLE Region 6, our official FB page
Call or text at: 09128582697 (Smart, Sun and TalkNText Subscribers and at 09557814371 (Globe and TM Subscribers)
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – August 9 Second batch of DSWD’s Cash for Work Program hired.
2,000 people have been hired under the Department of Social Work and Development’s (DSWD) Cash for Work Program. This is the second batch of workers. One person from each household in Boracay is allowed to apply for the Program, and will recieve a total of 9,705PHP for 30 days work. Their payment is released in increments every 10 days.
DSWD-6 Regional Director Rebecca Geamala confirmed that 1,898 people were hired in the first batch for the Program and a total of P17.15 Million was released in payments to them. The work can range from street cleaning, garbage collection, clearing debris, dredging canals etc.
The Depatment of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is also operating a Cash for Work Program, and is on its fourth batch of workers.
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – 10th August DILG Acting Sec claims hotels continue to discharge Waste in to the sea.
CNN reported on 10th August, that Eduardo Ano, Acting Secretary of the DILG, said that there were “indicators” that sewage was continuing to be dumped in Boracay waters at night, and that Ano was lying the blame at the doors of ‘Boracay Establishments’.
According to CNN, Ano made the following statement: “Boracay has been closed for so long, why are there still wastes? It’s because they are hoarding the waste and dump them at night.”
This has left Boracay Stakeholders a little, if not a lot, confused. “If there are no hotels open, no guests producing waste since April 26, where are we supposed to be getting the waste from, to be dumping it in the sea at night?!”
The tests undertaken at outlets, certainly show high Coliform counts. Is this because the hotels have been hoarding excrement to dump at a later date? Or because no attempt has been made to sterilize pipes that were a breeding ground for Coliforms? Or because those pipes have illegal tappers and the waste is not coming from the resorts but from residences? Particularly in light of the Rural Health Unit’s (RHU) statement on 8th August, that there are at least 192 Households on the island which do not have sanitary toilets. Read More Here
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – 12th August Red Cross Beach Clean-up and environmental seminar
7am and a Sunday morning, saw a volunteer party of island environmental advocates out on the beach for a clean-up. Despite the stormy weather. Red Cross Malay-Boracay Chapter organised the beach clean-up for their Youth Group and any other islanders who wished to join. A seminar followed the clean-up, providing 21 tips and ideas for alternatives to Single-Use Plastics. Single Use Plastics are things like: straws, plastic cutlery or plates, shopping bags, shampoo sachets, and are the biggest pollutants in our Oceans.
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – 13th August Announcement from DOT that only 30% of establishments to open, dealing further blow to Boracay’s ability to re-market itself.
The Business Mirror reported: ‘A TOURISM industry leader warned would-be tourists about making vacation plans on Boracay Island, especially for the forthcoming long All Saints’ Day weekend, because of the distinct possibility that their booked resorts would not be open by October 26.
This developed as an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed that the agency is targeting the reopening of just 30 percent of the hotels and resorts on the island’. Read More from the Business Mirror
It would seem that maybe some Officers in the Department of Tourism really need a helping hand in understanding the damage that a poorly thought out comment, or announcement, can have.
Ma. Rica C Bueno, Assistant Secretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination and Resource Generation has, apparently, confirmed the DOT Region 6 (Western Visayas) Office is targeting just “3,000 to 5,000 rooms” to be open by October 26. The island is believed to offer a total of 15,000 rooms.
This announcement is indeed news to Boracay Hotels and Resorts, who appear once again to be the last to know decisions or plans, being made by DOT Region 6.
Plans which will affect the island. Let’s be reminded of our Inside Boracay Article of week 13, when DOT Region 6 announced to the Media that 5-8 Cruise Ships were already lined up to visit Boracay upon re-opening. A link to the celebratory news article was subsequently removed from the DOT’s official Facebook page, after a number of Boracay Islanders and residents left comments in reply, citing DOT Region 6’s failure to consult with anyone regarding the Cruise Ships, which are far from welcomed by stakeholders or residents alike.
Shouldn’t the very businesses enabling Boracay to be a Tourist Destination be consulted with, or informed, before any statements are made to the Media?! Even the airlines who have been selling seats on flights with arrivals from 28th October, since before the closure, appear to be unaware of the limit on the number of rooms:-
- Cebu Pacific has 9 flights a day in to Caticlan, from Manila or Clark, and 8 flights a day in to Kalibo from either Manila or Cebu.
- Air Asia is currently selling 30 flights a week between Manila and Caticlan.
- PAL is selling 30 flights a week between Manila and Caticlan. 12 Flights a week between Manila and Kalibo. And 6 flights a week from Beijing, 4 from Busan and 14 from Seoul.
Jose Clemente III, President of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines warned:
“people planning to go to Boracay should first check if the resorts they booked with have already been accredited by the DOT, as this is the condition for their reopening.”
Whilst sensible it hardly inspires confidence among travellers wanting to book a stay on Boracay, and will likely result in continued struggles for the Hospitality Industry, and therefore its residents, to Market the island and recover its standing.
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – External Business wins contract for ‘Linear Urban Park’ on Boracay Wetland 4, opposite D’Mall
The Aboitiz Group has signed a Memorandum Of Agreement with DENR to adopt and restore Wetland 4 on the island. The area will be restored and converted in to a ‘Linear Urban Park’. Wetland 4, sometimes known as “Balabag Lake” is located across from D’Mall. The project will take three years to complete and will include the demolition of shops and residences, currently located in areas 2,3 & 4 of the below plan.
The Linear Urban Park will incorporate three themes: Recreational, with a low-impact eco-tourism design; Educational, by generating awareness on the importance of wetlands; and Experiential, by allowing the local community, students, and even tourists to participate in the cleanup, maintenance, and protection initiatives.
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – Veterinary Medical Mission takes place at Manoc Manoc
GMA 7’s Born to be Wild and Malay’s Municipal Agriculture Office joined forces to hold a Veterinary Medical Mission. The Mission took place between 7AM – 12noon, at Manoc Manoc Covered Court. Pet owners, and kind hearted islanders who have adopted strays were able to bring along the animals for a consultation, de-worming, rabies vaccination, the 5-in-1 vaccination, ligation and castration. The attending Vet was Dr. Deyven Oriondo
Inside Boracay: Week 16 – Boracay Dragonboat Teams ready’s for Iloilo Race
There is nothing better for bringing people together than team sports and this is recognised by Boracay AllStars Dragonboat Team. The Team decided to proceed with their attendance at the DoubleDragon Dragonboat Race, in Iloilo despite many of the team being away from the island, working to support their families during the closure.
Beautiful island, beautiful people. Catch Boracay All Stars at #DDBoatRace2018 #LegacyUnityAdvocacy #DoubleDragon
Posted by DoubleDragon Boat Race on Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Boracay AllStars is one of two Boracay Dragonboat Teams, who are invited to compete at this race each year. Boracay Allstars consistently achieves medal placements in the races and Festivals they take part in. The other team to attend, from Boracay, this year are the Nami Ati Dragonboat Team, taking the place of the usual contenders; Boracay SeaDragons.
Ordinarily, it would be a common sight to see the island’s Teams practicing on Bulabog Beach during low season. Many compete in races across Asia at this time of year. But with the ban on boats and craft off the island, as well as the majority of paddlers relocating to other areas to earn money during the closure, only Boracay Allstars have been able to bring enough paddlers together to enter a race. The Nami Ati Team are training off the mainland.
The 5th DoubleDragon Boat Race takes place on 18th August, at Iloilo River, with competing teams from across the Philippines. Your Hospitality Hub wishes both AllStars and the Nami Ati Team the best in their heats and races.