Inside Boracay: Week 8
The week started off slowly, with less work being undertaken on the roads, whilst waiting for the funds to be released.
- Nearly two months since the closure of the island and daily life continues to be difficult for the poorest of the islands residents. Various groups continue to run food aid and feeding programs, to try to support those most affected by the closure, and loss of earnings.
- The DSWD initiates the Disaster Assistance Family Access aid but was met with unhappiness by some residents, whose food packs included ‘smelly’ rice with bugs, and some canned food which was proven to be spoiled and rotten, upon opening.
- The island is finally assured that the re-opening date will be the 26th October, which allows hotels to finally start re-marketing, and setting dates for their staff to return.
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – a great video from Djila Winebrenner, of Lazy Dog Bed & Breakfast, cataloging the island as it looks at the start of Week 8.
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – June 14 Habagat delivers trash to Boracay
Habagat is now in full swing on Boracay. Elena Tosco Brugger took photos of all the trash being thrown on to Boracay’s beaches as a result of strong waves and high tides. The trash has most likely migrated from other areas in the country, brought to Boracay’s shores by the tides.
The Philippines is ranked 3rd as an Ocean Polluter; not a good award to hold! The island is already hoping to push through an Ordinance for the ban of Single-Use Plastics on the Island. But unless we all take it upon ourselves to buy fewer products wrapped in plastic, or ensure that we dispose of our trash responsibly, this problem will soon impact on us personally.
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – June 14 Islander becomes a hit on Youtube!
Islander Rhinna Palmer, recently launched her own YouTube Channel specifically to cover the rehabilitation of Boracay. Her video, filmed on 14th June, shows the work that has already taken place for the Circumferential Road.
The Road will offer a new link from D’mall along Bulabog Beach and up to Mount Luho. A large number of much loved kite-surfing resorts, cafe’s and bars were cleared to allow for this new road, along with many mature Palm Trees.
However, it was good to see that some of the islands residents, on the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Cash-For-Work Program are already planting new Palm Trees along the beach.
June 14 – Free Lifeguard Training offered to Aklan Residents. Inside Boracay: Week 7
TESDA announced free Life Guard NC2 & NC3 level training, for Aklanons, and residents of nearby towns and provinces. The Philippine Life Saving Academy (PLSA) will lead the training. Physically fit swimmers are encouraged to take up the opportunity to train to become licensed Life Guards. Anyone interested in this training should contact the Philippine Coast Guard Coastguard Sub-station Boracay or Philippine Coast Guard Auxillary 609. For enqueries, call or text 09298009764
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – June 16. Local Residents unhappy with the food provided to them by the DSWD
Whilst the displaced workers are thankful for the assistance they are receiving from the DSWD, they are distressed at the process for collecting their aid, and the condition of it. A local, who requested to remain anonymous, agreed for us to share her story and photos.
Islander A, as we shall call her, explained that the process for collection for the DSWD Disaster Assistance Family Access aid was a very difficult process, especially for the elderly and parents with small children. Her photos, taken at 8.45am already show the long queues that had formed at Balabag BasketBall Court. Islander A explained that the people first had to queue to secure the Disaster Assistance Family Access Card, and have their right to the aid verified. They then had to queue again in order to collect their food-pack, in the heat with no cover from the sun.
On getting home Islander A opened her food pack to find bugs crawling in the rice and an unpleasant smell. She advised that the food pack is welcomed and needed, with little money to purchase food themselves, but added that she is reluctant to cook the rice for fear her children or the older relatives will become sick.
“We don’t have money to go to the clinic if they get sick”.
Islander A said that she is incredibly saddened that her family is in a position, where they are reliant on food parcels, and that people will call her ungrateful for spoiled food given to her.
DSWD Action Officer, Leo Quintilla, advised in an article for News5 on 18th June, that they had received nine complaints about the food packs, which they confirmed as having been contaminated due to improper handling. It was confirmed that the food items were within their Sell-By dates but may have been improperly stored.
A local DSWD team has been formed, in order to immediately replace the contaminated food packs. Video of rice parcel contents:
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – 16th July
Pinay Boracay; a women’s co-operative received great news from the Department of Science and Technology evaluators, who love their Gwapamela Line; products made with the Gumamela (Hibiscus). The DOST will be increasing their grant to the co-operative and have guided them to focus their grant application on the purchase of a Packing Machine.
News has come in that the DENR plan to work with major businesses on an Adopt-a-Wetland scheme. It is reported that the Aboitiz Group, Gokongwei Group, San Miguel Corp. and Lucio Tan Group have all expressed an interest in the co-partnership. It is believed that Boracay will be piloting this scheme ahead of it being ‘rolled out’ to other areas in the Philippines. Sustainable Tourism/Destination Accreditation and Award guidelines, state that local communities AND businesses should be consulted on any schemes or projects, which will impact on, or improve the ecology or conservation of any area. Boracay Stakeholders have, over the years, paid for International Experts to undertake research and assessments of the local topography and endemic flora, fauna and animal species, as part of their pleas to rehabilitate the island and protect key areas. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge that can be shared, by those who’ve lived on the island for decades, to assist with this scheme. Rehabilitating Boracay’s wetlands, caves, wildlife, and the critical habitats, including coastal and marine areas, will require a lot of work and funding. Read more here: https://businessmirror.com.ph/adopt-a-wetland-seen-for-boracay/
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – June 18 Demolishing of properties on Wetland 6
7 buildings, located in Wetland 6 (sitio lugutan, Manoc-Manoc) have been demolished. There are 85 Buildings in total on Boracay’s Wetlands, which are set for demolition.
The 85 families will be relocated to the mainland, to Evacuation Centers. Currently there is space for only 20-30 families, in one of the newly opened Evacuation Centers.
Many of the affected residents state that they had not known the land, or building that they rented, was located on a wetland. Some residents have only recently extended their buildings to offer Boarding Lodgings, in order to earn some cash, and now face losing their homes and income.
The DENR and Malay LGU have stated that properties will not be demolished until residents have alternative accommodation located on the mainland.
Inside Boracay Week 8 June 19th Air Asia Philippines receives plaque of appreciation from Boracay
The Boracay Foundation Inc (BFI) presented a Plaque of Appreciation to Philippines AirAsia Director for Flight Operations, Capt Gomer Monreal for their valued support, and continued flights in and out of Catilan, servicing the Malay community during Boracay’s closure.
Philippines AirAsia is the only carrier to continue to provide one daily flight in and out of Caticlan.
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – Opening Date!!!
The Boracay Informer reported on 20th June that the Island will be open again from the 26th October 2018.
Environment Sec. Cimatu is said to have stated that “compliant” hotels and resorts can start accepting bookings from 27th October onwards. Whilst businesses are happy to hear this news, concerns are already being raised for the definition of “Compliant”. Many hotels and resorts, still listed by DILG as “non-compliant”, have stated that they believe that they are fully compliant, bar the required Fire Inspection Certificate, followed by the Mayor and Business Permits.
Media reports that only 90 establishments are compliant with Government Regulations (taken from the DILG Report). This gives the wider public the impression that Resorts and Businesses continue to fail to follow proper regulations and laws with regards to Certificates and Permits; that they continue to be failing or bad businesses.
One owner, who wishes to remain anonymous stated “I have been waiting now for 6 months for the Fire Inspection appointment; I phone weekly and I’m told they’ll be in touch.
You can’t get your Business or Mayor’s Permits until you have completed a Fire Inspection. So my business remains listed as non-compliant, when I believe it is fully compliant, because I’m still waiting for the relevant departments to complete their work.”
The General Manager of another resort, which had already received all it’s correct papers and certificates, prior to the closure, explained
“They say they need to reinspect to issue Sanitary Permits, but they will not give us a date for the Inspection. So we have gone from being listed as a compliant resort to a non-compliant resort.”
The Environmental Management Bureau also announced that the water quality on White Beach is sufficiently improved to declare it open for use by residents. Bulabog Beach, however, will remain closed to the public until work has been completed on the old TIEZA drainage pipe, cited as the culprit and breeding ground for coliform.
Inside Boracay: Week 8 – Fire hits the island & Emergency Response Team has to close
At 2.08am on the 20th June a fire tore through two houses and one TV Repair shop, destroying them.
A Boutique shop and another house were partially damaged by the fire. The affected properties are located between Balabag Elementary School and Patio Pacific, which is currently undergoing reconstruction.
Fire trucks from Boracay’s Fire sub-station, and the Boracay Action Group (BAG)-Boracay Fire Rescue and Ambulance Volunteers (BFRAV) had the fire under control within 35 minutes. However, later the same day it was announced that the Boracay Fire Rescue and Ambulance Volunteers would no longer operate from 20th June. The stoppage of vital emergency services comes after their financial support was cut by LGU Malay, from May 16th, and insufficient funds or support from Boracay Stakeholders, struggling themselves due to the Island Closure.
Last nights fire was another example of why the island needs this Emergency Response Team and now we have lost them. Not a good end to Week 8 of closure.