Boracay’s carrying capacity for tourists limited to 19K a day: Cimatu

MANILA The world-famous Boracay Island's carrying capacity for tourists will be limited to 19,215 a day, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Wednesday.

Cimatu said that in the past, the highest tourist arrivals recorded was about 7,000 against the average of 6,000 a day.

"Yung average na nangyari noon is within (the carrying capacity). Ang maximum noon ay February and Holy Week. Ito ang pinakamataas. Nag-exceed ang arrivals natin ng mga 6,000 average, umabot ng 7,000 (In the past, the average number of tourist arrivals was within the carrying capacity. Back then, the maximum was during February and Holy Week. These months have the highest. The arrivals exceeded from 6,000 average to 7,000)," he said in an interview with reporters.

"The total average is within the carrying capacity. If we could just maintain this one, we are okay," he stressed.

Based on a commissioned study, Boracay has a population of 70,781 and this exceeds by 15,836 persons a day.

The study also revealed that the island can accommodate only a total of 54,945 persons a day 35,730 non-tourists and 19,215 tourists.

At present, Cimatu said the non-tourists' share in the population exceeds the limit on the island, with stay-in workers totaling about 22,395, residents at 16,000, and migrant workers at 13,605.

"Now, this is the objective of the task force, to look into a way to decongest the non-tourists," Cimatu said, adding that the task force eyes building a dormitory for stay-in workers in mainland Aklan.

During a Cabinet meeting in MalacaAang on Tuesday, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) composed of the DENR, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Tourism presented the latest on the island's rehabilitation.

MalacaAang urged to maintain the island's carrying capacity to assure that its rehabilitation efforts would be sustained.

The most important is that they assess that the carrying capacity for Boracay is 19,215 per day including 6,405 tourist arrivals per day, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Citing conclusions made by the BIATF during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, Roque said there is an excess in the existing population of tourists on the island, excess in existing hotels and available rooms, and excess in solid waste generated.

In the interview, Cimatu assured that the interagency group will implement the carrying capacity once the island reopens on October 26.

Roque also noted the insufficient wastewater treatment facilities on the island.

At a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday, Cimatu said the task force is currently requiring hotels and resort owners with 50 rooms and above to construct their own sewage treatment plant.

Before the rehabilitation, the volume of water in need of treatment reached 15 million liters against the island's capability to clean only 11.5 million liters per day.

Aside from maintaining the tourist carrying capacity, the BIATF also recommended evaluating the feasibility of utilizing the extra available rooms.

The BIATF is also recommending to promote the use of wetlands for filtering out waste from both soil and water, maximize open spaces for vegetation, minimize point source pollution, minimize coastal erosion, and establish permanent monitoring facilities in designated areas, among others. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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