Inside Boracay: Week 6 (with 22 weeks left until expected re-opening) has been incredibly busy with lots of community volunteering and assistance to those in need, updates to the rehabilitation and good news stories (although not my electricity reading which has shown a doubling of energy consumption when my routine and usage has not changed at all!)
May 31 – DSWD Livelihood Assistance Fund
First batch of the DSWD’s Livelihood Assistance Fund released to islanders, at Manoc Manoc Barangay Covered Court. 15,000PHP was released to 1,323 people and the plan is to release financial support to up to 11,000 people by the end of June. The DSWD has a total of 280 Million for the Livelihood Assistance Fund, which is targeted to assist residents affected by Boracay’s Closure.
May 31 – Mangrove Clean-up & Replanting
Boracay Rehabilitation Monitoring Operations organised an afternoon of Mangrove Clean-up and Replanting activities. The event was supported by volunteers from the Local Community, Boracay Panay, Coastguard Auxillary Service Boracay, Boracay PNP, Boracay Haven Resort and Boracay Red Cross Youth.
Refreshments were provided to the volunteers by Lemon Cafe and Boracay Tubic Systems Inc.
Inside Boracay: May 29-31 Department of Science hold training seminars
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in conjunction with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Boracay, continue to hold training seminars for islanders, which cover a range of topics and learning opportunities; encouraging sustainable products and livelihood programs.
This week covered Seafood Processing, reusing recycled materials for pouches and paper charcoal making.
Pinay Boracay announced that they were putting previous training courses with the DOST in to action already, with pro-environment and pro-health products; Sara Sara (native coffee) and rice milk, which they will be selling at the Saturday Community Market and Sesame Street Market. Pinay Boracay already produce eco-friendly and organic soaps, using the Guamela, as well as candies, dishwash liquid and insect repellant.
Sadly Pinay Boracay are potentially facing the loss of some of their community processing plant to the 25+5 setback on Bulabog. Pinay Boracay (Boracay Women Producers Co-operative) also received an invitation, this week, to attend the Regional Orientation of DA & DA-attached Agencies Programs and Projects from the Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center. The group attended the meeting on the 6th June.
May 31 Land Reform Proposals
The first media articles circulate about a proposed Land Reform for Boracay. Islanders immediately faced questions from various reporters about their thoughts on this. Whilst many may have had an immediate, emotional, reaction to the first reports, most are stoic and say that they will wait for the full details. Boracay remains a hot media topic and so she should.
Despite beliefs, hastened by mainstream media reports, the majority of people, AND businesses, are fully behind the rehabilitation program of this beautiful island. Indeed, many have been campaigning and trying to raise the need to protect the island for over a decade. There is also a thoroughness to the rehabilitation work, which is bringing up problems few of the islanders were aware of; such as another drainage pipe, running along White Beach, with illegal tappers pumping waste water via illegal connections (see our Week 5 Report). Islanders have confidence that the work will be completed in time, and are hopeful for the ongoing rehabilitation program once Boracay re-opens.
Pinay Boracay are hopeful that any land reform will encourage cultural connection, sustainable enterprises in food and cosmetic production, and that it will have a significant social economic impact on local livelihoods.
My only comment is to suggest that we shouldn’t all assume that the local indigenous people, cited as the priority for parcels of farm land, have any desire to become farmers. Recent conversations, between an islander and an Ati tribal elder resulted in the comment
“What do we know about farming? The last person to farm in my family was my grandfather. What we want is training, local jobs and equal treatment”
Bulig sa Isla Program
The project dubbed as “Bulig sa Isla Program”, took place in Week 6. The Bulig sa Isla Program was initiated by Mam VK Aguiree-Salem, a member of Boracay PNP’s Advisory Council. The Boracay PNP assisted in handing out school supplies to children attending Yapak, Balabag and Manoc Manoc Elementary Schools.
The program was specifically created to assist the school children of parents who are considered Displaced Workers. The following was distributed: 239 sets of School supplies in Barangay Yapak, including Sitio Hagdan; 180 sets in Balabag Elementary School and 320 sets plus 20 school bags in Manoc Manoc Elementary School. Ma’am Aguiree-Salem and Boracay PNP gratefully thanked all the sponsors and donors of this program.
Habagat Has Arrived!
June 2 – and Habagat has arrived. Whilst the day started off with black clouds, at approximately 7.30PM the island was hit by high winds and rain out of nowhere. One Pump Boat coming in to dock at Cagban Port (Boracay), from Caticlan capsized, with 31 passengers on board. Members of the Boracay Action Group (BAG) and Boracay Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Volunteers (BFRAV), responded to an emergency call from the Philippine Coastguard, and rushed to the scene. On arrival they carried out initial treatment on 7 Adults and 6 Children, before transporting them to Ciriaco Tirol Emergency Hospital, Station 2 for further treatment.
We reported in our Week 3 Article that BFRAV received the news that the LGU were unable to continue to support them with financial aid after May 16, and highlighted our concerned about the impacts on Boracay, which still has locals, residents and construction workers living on the island who need access to Emergency Response.
Thanks go out to the BFRAV Responders:
RN Mack Aguilos
RN Aiza Amor Padre-e
Communicator: Rb Bachiller
Ambo 1: Jhayr Dagohoy
Ambo 2: Rhon Lachica Arcenio
Ambo 3: John Paguigan
Support: Leomar Delatura
What we do know, with certainty is Not All Heroes Wear Capes!
Steps towards a Sustainable Eco-friendly Destination
Your Hospitality Hub/RANGGO has been facilitating a number of Focus Groups with Islanders and Businesses, including an Eco-Friendly Sustainability Workgroup (see the minutes of the first meetings here). The group presented the first of their discussion topics to SB Nenette Graf; a Ban on Single Use Plastics, for consideration for a proposed Ordinance for the island. Ethel Tornberg, of Watercolors, had previously undertaken a survey at the local MRF (Municipal Recycling Facility) and learned that the greatest amount of plastics being thrown away, were ‘single use plastics’ coming from hotels. Such as complementary shower, shampoo and conditioner bottles, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, shaving kits, slippers, water bottles, etc. As Boracay is popular for travellers staying for only 2-3 days, this results in a huge amount of single use plastics being disposed of.
On June 2 SB (Sanguniaang Bayan or Councillor) Maylynn “Nenette” Aguirre-Graf announced that the proposed Ordinance document had been prepared, ready to be presented to the Council for consideration. The proposed Ordinance will need to go through 3 Readings, in the SB plenary, before it is enacted.
3rd June Animal Rescue
The Aklan Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center worked with a number of people on Boracay to rescue, and rehabilitate 14 dogs and 1 kitten on 3rd June. The stray dogs had previously been rounded up and kept at the LGU dog pound on Boracay, but with no owners coming forward to claim them something needed to be done with them. AARC stepped in and, with the assistance of members of Boracay Community, relocated the animals to a temporary shelter, at their facilities outside of Kalibo.
Whilst it is very true that the islands concerns should focus on the poor, who need financial assistance and support to get through the next 5 months of closure. A very real problem could develop if the stray dog and cat issue isn’t dealt with.
Many dogs and cats roam free around Boracay and survive on food scraps and tidbits given by guests eating in beach restaurants. With the majority of businesses having closed, food is scarcer for these strays and some could become desperate and steal food, whilst others will die a slow death. We could also see more animals tearing open trash bags to get at whatever is inside, causing further mess.
Looking after Boracay, means looking after her stray animals, and getting them neutered at one of the Barangay’s, where island vets run community neutering services.
Many of the animals are suffering with Mange and parasites, so visits from AARRC are also needed to help these animals to be more healthy.
AARC is run on donations and sponsors. If you would like to assist, whether by providing sacks and tins of food for the cats and dogs, or to provide rescue or treatment for the animals on Boracay, please CLICK HERE
Update on Road Widening program; Ambalong to the start of Station 2.
There is no denying that a massive task has been set for the reopening of Boracay on 26th October.
Currently, there are 3 Key Elements that must be in place, for an early re-opening to take place.
1. The Coliform % in Boracay’s Sea Areas must fall within acceptable levels (being addressed by the shut down, and cleaning, of the Government-owned drainage pipes and any illegal pipes tapping in to them, as well as improved Sewage Treatment via the new UV STP’s being installed by Boracay Island Water Company). 2. Completion of the 25+5 Beach set-backs and
3. Completion of the Road Set Backs. Rehabilitation work will still continue on Boracay, even after the closure.
June 4 Update on Pipes found tapping in to drain pipe on White Beach
As reported previously, up to 43 pipes have been discovered by The Mines and GeoScience’s Bureau, using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).
Work has gone on to excavate those pipes, and test the output to determine if they were pumping sewage under the sands of White Beach. 28 Pipes had been excavated, by June 4. Some properties were found to have 2-4 pipes leading from their boundaries:-
- 5 connecting septic tank to sewer manhole (for overflow, 2 damaged and to be replaced)
- 2 used for storm water to drain to beach (1 voluntarily fixed)
- 1 condemned and removed by LGU
- 1 pipe connecting kitchen pipe to sewer manhole
- 1 pipe connected from own holding tank for storm water, draining to the beach (voluntarily removed)
- 2 pipes for rainwater (voluntarily removed)
- 1 pipe for electrical wirings (voluntarily removed)
- 1 pipe connecting washbasin to sewer manholes and beach (voluntarily removed), 6 other pipes from same establishment being investigated
- 1 pipe voluntarily removed
Identified Drainage Outflows discharging waste water in to Bulabog Beach and Tulabhan Beach
- 2 Drainage Outflows at Bulabog Beach closed off by Boracay Island Water Company
- Drainage Outflow in Wetland 6, to be closed off by the Provincial Government
- Drainage Outflow in Tulabhan will be closed off by Boracay Tubic System Inc
25+5 Setback update
- 22 properties affected by the 25+5 setback on Bulabog Beach
- 142 properies affected on Manoc Manoc coastline
25+5 Easement Recovery Status (all served with notice)
- 21 Balabag (Station 1)
- 5 Balabag (Station 2)
- 7 Balabag/Manoc Manoc (Station 3)
- 52 Bulabog Beach Balabag/Manoc Manoc
- 4 Diniwid Beach Balabag
- 29 Tambisan Beach Manoc Manoc
- 12 Tulabhan Beach Sugod Manoc Manoc
- 10 West Cagban Port Manoc Manoc
All planned demolitions of 25+5 Easement Recovery properties have been put on hold until a relocation site is ready to accommodate those who will be displaced.
- Wetland No 1 Yapak – 4.81 hectares, 72 occupants, 19 served with notice
- Wetland No 2 Balabag – 7.79 hectares, 49 occupants, 1 served with notice
- Wetland No 3 Balabag – 1.22 hectares, 12 occupants, 9 served with notice
- Wetland No 4 Balabag – 0.99 hectares, 13 occupants, 1 served with notice
- Wetland No 5 Manoc Manoc – 1.17 hectares, 1 occupant, 1 served with notice
- Wetland No 6 Manoc Manoc – 8.47 hectares, 84 occupants, 42 served with notice
- Wetland No 7 Manoc Manoc – 6.86 hectares, 152 occupants, 35 served with notice
- Wetland No 8 Manoc Manoc – 5.61 hectares, 136 occupants, 70 served with notice
- Wetland No 9 Manoc Manoc – 1.37 hectares, 29 occuapnst, 11 served with notice
All planned demolitions of wetland structures have been put on hold until a relocation site is ready to accommodate those who will be displaced. Information taken from a helpful YouTube video, by Filipinos In Australia which can be viewed here
4 June. Boracay Stakeholders meet with the new DOT Secretary
7 people from Boracay attended a two hour meeting with the new Department Of Tourism (DOT) Secretary, in Manila on Monday 4th June at the NAC Tower in Bonifacio Global City. Each of the 7 are Stakeholders of small to medium sized Boracay resorts, and gathered comments and suggestions from islanders prior to the meeting, to raise with Sec. Berna Rumol Puyat.
There were also 23 Stakeholders attending who are based with Manila-located companies, but with Boracay resorts.
Topics raised included the proposed land reform and its impact on the rehabilitation program, a concrete date for re-opening with assistance in marketing the island ahead of re-opening, the lack of communication around the rehabilitation program plans to island Stakeholders, and concerns for the future management of the island if responsibility is handed back to the same departments responsible to date. Sec. Puyat suggested that Stakeholders form an “Interim Taskforce” themselves, with representatives from each industry present on Boracay, which can bring issues direct to the DOT. The DOT Sec will also attend the next Boracay Interagency Taskforce meeting, to raise the issues of the stakeholders. Attendees advise that the meeting left them feeling more re-assured and supported.
June 4 Community Service and Gift Giving at Barangay Yapak.
This event was sponsored by SB Datu Sumidad, Ma’am Julijane Libres, Jeffrey Yu, Jin da Heng Shooting Range, and was assisted by the Kabalikat Civicom 961 Boracay Chapter. The gift packs included rice, sardines, coffee, noodles and tuna. Another event will be held in Barangay Manoc Manoc on the 25th June.
June 4 Pahampany Pinoy
Pahampany Pinoy took place in Tambisaan, as part of the 2018 National Heritage Month. The Betty Bantug Benitez Foundation Inc, and Boracay Women Producers Co-operative, organised and ran this event, attended by more than 100 children. The children were taught, and played, old school cultural games such as the Luksong Tinik, Sack Race, Tumba Lata, Patintero, Luksong Baka. School supplies and snacks were also distributed after the games. Newly elected Kagawad Cristian Gelito, of Brgy Manoc Manoc gamely stepped up and conducted Luksong Baka to the children.
More local heroes & community spirit
The Red Cross Boracay Chapter continues to provide support to islanders. Members attend events and activities to help with distribution, health needs, or to marshal. In addition they are providing hot food stations to the many islanders who have signed up to the various clean-up and rehabilitation programs. If you are able to contribute to the feeding programs, aimed at those most struggling to feed themselves and their families during the closure, please contact Boracay 288-2068; 1,000PHPP can feed hundreds of people.