Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu today reiterated his call on all establishments and the people in Boracay, both local and foreign, to observe the rules and regulations imposed by the government in order to complete the island’s rehabilitation. Cimatu also chairs the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF).

Cimatu made the call as he ordered anew a crackdown on establishments that continue to operate without appropriate permits from the government.

“I once said that Boracay will never be a “cesspool” again, but we need all the support and cooperation of everybody to sustain the gains we have made from the massive rehabilitation we have done to the island. Let us continue to be guardians of the island and prevent it from sliding back,” Cimatu said.

On Tuesday, the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force (BIATF), through the local government of Malay, Aklan, has closed down 10 erring establishments, namely: Bella’s Bar and Restaurant, Old Captain Cuisine, Ken Minimart, Ken St., Island Staff Restaurant, Coco Spa, Kim Ji Man, W Hostel Boracay Dragon, VIP Souvenir Shop, and YH World Network Service, Inc.

Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Group General Manager Natividad Bernardino, who led the government team that served the closure orders, said the crackdown on the erring establishments was ordered by Cimatu amid reports that Chinese businesses have proliferated in the island, with business name signage and restaurant menu written only in Chinese characters, and catering exclusively to Chinese tourists.

It was also observed that there was an increasing number of Chinese and Korean nationals working as tour guides, restaurant chefs and staff, Bernardo said.

According to her, an ad hoc committee was created by the BIATF on April 25 to carry out the task of inspecting and looking into possible violations of these foreign-run businesses, including aliens staying and working in Boracay without valid work permits and visa.

The committee was composed of representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Immigration, DENR and the local government of Malay, Aklan.

Bernardo said that from May 7 to May 9, the DILG-led Boracay Inspection Committee inspected a total of 49 establishments with foreign business name signage. Of these, 10 were found actively operating without mayor’s permits and another 14 had incomplete requirements from the LGU and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The list of non-compliant foreign-run businesses was endorsed by DILG Undersecretary EpimacoDensing III to Malay Mayor Abram Sualog for the issuance of closure orders.

“We cannot allow flagrant violation by foreign nationals of our country’s laws and regulations, especially in the island which we have painstakingly rehabilitated,” said DILG Undersecretary EpimacoDensing III.

Island tourism statistics revealed that foreign visitors in Boracay have been dominated by Chinese and Korean nationals, representing 56% and 37% respectively, of the total number of foreign tourists from January to March of 2019. The rest came from the United States of America, Russia and United Kingdom. ###