Cover Photo: Boracay From The Sky
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 49 Days to Re-opening!
49 Days to re-opening (at the start of Week 19) and things seem to be starting to happen to be Open-Ready. Stakeholders continue to struggle with limited or conflicting information.
- Names of the first 25 hotels/resorts to clear their Permits and Accreditation announced by DOT
- Carry Capacity Announced
- Stakeholders question why BTSI Customers are favored first; Compliant Hotel List.
- DOT region 6 advise guests with bookings in ‘non-compliant’ hotels will be stopped at the Port from entering
- Video example of illogical rehabilitation work
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 30th August Displaced Workers call on Government to extend Aid Support
Displaced Boracay workers are calling on the Government to extend the financial and food Aid assistance, set up for the closure period.
The announcement from the Department of Tourism, that the re-opening on the 26th October is only a ‘soft opening’, has further distressed unemployed Boracay Workers. With only 3,000 rooms expected to be available, and many resorts unable to open, as well as many bars and restaurants, many islanders will continue to be without a job or income.
“We have no livelihood and have gone hungry for more than four months now. This only means that our suffering will be longer.” Olive Abañera (We Are Boracay) – Further Reading 1
The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) have both operated Government initiatives to support workers; cash-for-work, livelihood and other food aid assistance. But many employees continue to complain that their payments have still not been released; 5 months in to the 6 month closure. Many say that they applied early on and have still received no assistance. They also claim that they can’t even follow up their application because they just get told to text and then they receive no response.
One ex-hotel owner, who hasn’t lived on the island for 6 years, spoke to Your Hospitality Hub confidentially:
Olive Abañera feels strongly that Government assistance should extend past October 26, as many people will still have no employment or means of supporting their families
“We are not victims of a natural calamity but by the closure of the island by the Government.” Olive Abañera (Further Reading 1.)
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 31st August Carry Capacity finally announced
DILG Officer-in-Charge, Eduardo Año, advised that the Carry Capacity would be set at 19,000 tourists per day.
It was assessed that there is approximately 36,000 Residents and Workers living on Boracay. Año stated that the maximum the island can ‘carry’ is 55,000 people.
DOT Secretary, Bernadette Rumulo-Puyat advised that Boracay will be the pilot for all other destinations:
“In Boracay alone, there will be a carrying capacity, meaning, we will be limiting the number of tourists entering Boracay and that will be our pilot for all other major tourist destinations.”
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 31st August First Hotels for Re-opening announced by DOT
The DOT (Department of Tourism) released the names of the first 25 Boracay Hotels and Resorts to have secured all their Permits, Certificates and DOT Accreditation in order to re-open on the 26th October. The DOT advise that they will release a list of hotels, cleared to re-open, every Friday.
With these first 25 hotels a total of 2,063 rooms will be available for guests to book.
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 2nd September Stakeholders confused by the Compliant List
Without wishing to ‘rain on anyone’s parade’ there were mutterings among residents and business owners after the release of the first list of Compliant hotels.
Especially after DENR has said their decision to demand all beachfront hotels with 6+ rooms have their own, or clustered, STP would stand.
Some queried whether the ‘compliant’ beachfront hotels had a completed STP installment already, whilst others pointed out that those on the list were resorts or hotels who had purchased an STP from Boracay Tubi System Inc (BTSI). And that favoritism was being shown over those hotels who had purchased an STP from Boracay Island Water Company.
“Except for some four small ones, all are BTSI customers/converts.” Mike Santos, Boracay Island Water Co. (BIWC) General Manager confirmed (Further Reading 2).
You’ll remember from our Inside Boracay: Week 17 Is the Poop Hitting the Fan, that business owners were not happy about a Memorandum of Agreement signed between DENR and BTSI, ahead of DENR’s announcement that beachfront hotels would need to install an STP in order to be considered ‘Compliant’.
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 2nd September Ongoing Problems securing Compliant status.
In our Week 17 Article we also included a post from a Stakeholder, who was angered by the impression Officers of DENR were intentionally giving to mainstream media: “They make it sound like we are deliberately resisting Compliance. It’s really ridiculous”
Two stakeholders spoke to the Business Mirror, about the experiences and difficulties in getting either straight answers or through the process for being compliant (Further Reading 2).
“We got measured three times in the last few weeks for the 25+5 easement—all [with] different results! First measurement, we were deemed fully compliant as we had an existing 25+5 compliant certification. The second measurement, the entire pool plus a portion of the restaurant would have to be removed, because the old 25+5 line has been disregarded. The new line is the ‘cadastral survey’ line. In the third measurement, they used some unknown basis; [this time all that is] affected are posts and a wall less than a meter.”
“We applied early, and we followed up on our papers daily. Then they lost our papers and we had to resubmit them. They promised to fast-track our application but when we followed up today, Saturday, the one-stop shop was [only open] half day and there’s no work tomorrow [Sunday]. [The resort only needs to be inspected] but they don’t even have the people to do that; they said they were understaffed! It’s so chaotic at the one-stop shop; people are losing their patience.”
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 4th September DOT advises tourists against booking with non-compliant hotels
DOT-6 Regional Director Atty. Helen Catalbas, advised Boracay Good News, that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force will be the ones to ensure that tourists arriving at Cagban are booked to stay in compliant hotels only.
“We discourage doing ‘chance’ (reservation) in that the moment they arrive in the island, that’s when they will book (for an accommodation). Because perhaps when they arrive on the island and their hotel and resort are not compliant, they could no longer get an accommodation” – DOT R-6 Director Atty. Helen Catalbas (Further Reading 3)
The tourist will be asked to provide a copy of their confirmed booking or confirmation email at the Jetty Port, before allowing to proceed to Boracay if the establishment is on the ‘Compliant’ List.
Whilst this information was shared by Yes The Best Boracay (Further Reading 4), the post was not clear what would happen to any tourists who have unwittingly booked a hotel which the DOT has not yet cleared for re-opening.
There is also a lack of information about where guests who have an Airbnb Booking stand, as often this are private homes or apartments.
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – 4th September The Reality of rehabilitation
The below video was made on the morning of 4th September. It shows how Cagban Road has been cut away to a 15 meter depth in one section. This has cut off 10 households nearby, who accessed the main road at this point, from their homes, to drive their children to school, bring home shopping or have their water and gas delivered. No sign went up to pre-warn them, no-one came and spoke to the families to see how such excavation may affect them. It was just done and they’re expected to accept it.
Inside Boracay: Week 19 – A Week In Photos
Further Reading & Article Sources
- Boracay workers appeal for steady gov’t help – Inquirer
- DOT-accredited resorts have no STPs; Boracay stakeholders – Business Mirror
- DOT releases partial list of compliant hotels and resorts in Boracay – UNTV News and Rescue
- Turista Sasalain Sa Point Of Entry Sa Muling Pahbukas Ng Boracay – Yes The Best Boracay