Integrated Policies on Environment, Climate, and Disaster Risk Reduction Needed for Boracay

March 02, 2018 Friday

March 2, 2018. “When Boracay succeeds in overcoming its limitations in the form of stronger environmental policies incorporating scenarios of climate change impacts, we can be sure that it will be able to cope and survive the challenge of rapid urbanization and tourism,” Climate Change Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman said on the current environmental issues faced by Boracay.

“Boracay is not the first manifestation of failure in environmental management and over-all governance. But it is quite different in the sense that it has a choice because its climate change impacts can still be reduced. It requires political will and a coming together of primarily local actors and handholding and proper oversight by state actors,” he said in a statement.

De Guzman underscored the need to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into the Comprehensive Land Use Plan of Boracay. “While the intensifying impacts of climate change are inevitable and more innovative adaptation measures may be needed, Boracay can start to immediately implement no-regrets measures like strict observance of carrying capacity limitations by using the island’s common sewage treatment facility. The coming together of various sectors to implement these urgent mitigative actions is paramount to Boracay’s survival and sustainable development,” he added.

Commissioner Noel Gaerlan, meanwhile, said that the local government should conduct climate and disaster vulnerability and risk assessment for the entire island. He also noted the need for authorities to decide if Boracay should be compliant to Class SB classification per Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order No. 34.

Following this issue, Commissioner Rachel Herrera joined Senator Cynthia Villar and DENR Region VI Director Jim Sampulna in an ocular inspection of the water treatment facility and transfer station of solid waste in Boracay today.

In a joint public hearing of the Senate Committees on Environment and Natural Resources, Tourism, Finance, Trade and Industry, and Local Government after the inspection, Herrera discussed the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which should have been implemented by local authorities in the island. She noted that under the law, wastes should be segregated into biodegradable, non-biodegradable, non-recyclable/residual, special/hazardous, and papers that could still be used.

In the said hearing, Senator Loren Legarda instructed the Climate Change Commission to coordinate with the local government officials of Malay municipality in Aklan, particularly the chairpersons of its Barangays Yapak, Manoc-manoc, and Balabag comprising Boracay Island, for the implementation of climate change adaptation programs in the island.