GMA declares ‘martial law’ in Boracay

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — The government will impose a “Martial Law” proclamation on Boracay Island in a bid to preserve its beauty and tourism, Malacañang said.

A Palace statement said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will implement an “unrepealed Martial Law Proclamation” making Boracay a national park and placing its resources under government protection.

“An example of our efforts to preserve Boracay’s tourism value, which spreads throughout Aklan, is by applying an unrepealed Martial Law Proclamation declaring Boracay Island as a tourist zone under the administration and control of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA),” Arroyo said in a keynote address during the inauguration of the newly-constructed P207-million Ibajay bridge in Aklan on Monday.

The martial law regime had declared Boracay a national park, placing the tourist island and its resources under government protection.

With the implementation of the unrepealed Martial Law proclamation, Boracay and its inhabitants are guaranteed sustainability of the island’s resources and livelihood.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been fighting for Boracay’s sustainability. Amid growing concerns over the unchecked development in the island, it issued a moratorium on all construction activities.

Shortly after he took the helm at the DENR on August 1, 2007, Secretary Lito Atienza imposed the moratorium barring uncontrolled development on Boracay.

The Sangguniang Bayan of Malay then passed a resolution stopping further construction on the island.

“Our concern is the sustainability of the island as a major tourist destination, not to mention the safety of its residents,” Atienza said.

Also supporting the moratorium are the Department of Tourism and PTA. They noted that resort owners had violated laws on construction, commerce, health, and environment.
“Boracay can’t handle additional construction without sacrificing the environmental welfare of the island. It’s overloaded,” Atienza reiterated.

Proof of this, he said, was the flooding of some business establishments on the island after a heavy rain in December 2007.

“Investing in the vital infrastructure also includes building up our environment as a reflection of our commitment to our quality of life,” Arroyo said on Monday.

She also said she is working to provide “a reliable supply of power” through the construction of more power plants in Panay Island.

“Also high on our priority list for Panay is the provision of a reliable supply of power that will sustain tourism and other industries,” she said.

Arroyo said she will be back in Panay Island, specifically in Capiz, “to launch a new project that will give the island an additional 15 megawatts of power.”