DOT exec eyes cap on tourists after Boracay rehab


MANILA An official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday said the inter-agency task force plans to acquire a system akin to regulation arrangements to limit visitors coming into Boracay after its rehabilitation concludes in six months.

"We are going to have to control the number of people entering the island," Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

The official said in the Subterranean River in Palawan, there is a 2,000 daily capacity, meaning walk-in visitors can no longer go there without online registration.

Mt. Apo has also been slowly reopened and similar to Palawan, only a certain numbers are allowed to enter and trek, Alegre said.

"This is not new and the interagency task force will do the same thing for Boracay when we resume operations," he said.

In 2017, tourist arrival into the island reached 2.1 million. At present, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is currently conducting a study to update the carrying capacity of Boracay island.

"We had one study of carrying capacity but it was in 2007," DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said.

"But then and only even without the carrying capacity, looking at what is happening now in Boracay wherein illegal structure are already encroaching easements and wetlands and forestlands and then the garbage problem has been a tremendous, this has been becoming our parameters that it increased," he added.

Despite this, they intend to finish the study in time for the rehabilitation conclusion.

"The carrying capacity now will determine the sustainability of the rehabilitation we will be doing in Boracay kasi kapag hindi natin ginawa iyong (because if don't do the) carrying capacity na requirements, baka naman baka after nitong six months bumalik na naman iyong dating sitwasyon (it would probably revert to its previous situation after six months)," he pointed out.

Leones explained the cap would serve as future guide on how many tourists should be accommodated by the island, and how many developments should be allowed.

"What is critical here is the rehabilitation first and then the carrying capacity will set the threshold and limit on what development should be allowed in the Boracay Island," he said.

Source: Philippine News Agency