The Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) Bill was finally approved in the committee level of the House of Representatives following a joint meeting of the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization and the Committee on Local Government yesterday, June 15.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, Principal co-author of Davao City Congressman Paolo Duterte, believes that Boracay Island will be more beautiful and be significantly improved if it is being run under a Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) and managed by an efficient and professional group that won't be influenced by any political actions.

“Maganda po ‘yong ginawa nila sa Boracay pero itong gagawin natin ay kasama pa rin po sila dito, mas pagtitibayin lang po natin, mas pagagandahin lang po natin ang Boracay" (They've done a great job in Boracay, but what we're doing right now still includes them; we will just strengthen it more and make Boracay even more beautiful),” Yap said referring to Aklan political leaders.

Earlier, the young Duterte personally went to Boracay to assess and have a full grasp of the situation of the island which brings him see the need for an independent Authority like GOCC to govern the country’s jewel and toursism pride.

During the House’s Committee hearing yesterday, Yap managed to convince all the members of the joint committee to pass the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) Bill as the GOCC version of the proposed bill, especially after urging them not to be afraid of change “because nothing will ever happen or improve in our country if we continue to fear for change to happen.”

“I urged the Committee to pass this bill. Huwag tayong matakot doon sa sinasabi natin na GOCC kasi sa totoo lang lahat tayo natatakot tayo sa pagbabago. Walang mangyayari sa bansa natin kung lahat tayo takot baguhin ito (I urged the Committee to pass this bill. We must not be afraid of the GOCC. In truth, I know that all of us are afraid of change, but certainly nothing good will ever happen to our country if we’re all afraid of change to take place.)

For their part, political leaders of Aklan such as Governor Florencio “Joeben” Miraflores, 1st District Congressman Carlito Marquez, and 2nd District Congressman Teodorico “Ted” Haresco, along with the local government unit of Malay headed by Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista expressed their resistance against the GOCC version of the BIDA bill as they have been pushing instead for the “Regulatory version” of BIDA that is synonymous to the current operations of Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) headed by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Surprisingly, the proposed GOCC version of BIDA was passed even with the reservations of national government agencies including the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Ironically, BIATF is among those who objected to the GOCC versions saying it is amenable for just a regulatory body.

Yap shared that he understands the worries of the local government and agencies of the national government on the proposed measure, but emphasizes that it’s about time for the House to seize the opportunity and turn the proposed BIDA Bill to its GOCC version and that delays in doing so should not be entertained.

"Naiintindihan ko po yung local government. Naiintindihan ko rin yung national government sa mga concerns nila. Pero ang sa akin lang, ang tagal na nitong Boracay na ‘to, hindi na bago ito until nagbago ng Presidente. Dito lamang nakita ng taumbayan na puede palang magbago at puede naman palang luminis. Ngayon mayroon tayong golden opportunity through Cong. Paolo Duterte na nakaisip gawing GOCC itong BIDA bill. So bakit natin hahayaang makalagpas ang opportunity na ito na once in a lifetime lang darating sa buhay natin? (I understand the concerns of the local government as well as those of the agencies of the national government, but for me, Boracay’s (problems) had been there for long time now and no changes in Boracay has ever happened until now, with the new President. The people have seen the difference, and it is now very clean. And now that we have a golden opportunity through Cong. Paolo Duterte who thought of the idea to make the BIDA Bill into a GOCC, why should we allow this to pass?” the solon pointed out.

The feisty solon even announced that if the management of Boracay fails under the proposed Authority, he wouldn’t mind not running for any elective post in the future.

“If the GOCC version of the BIDA Bill fails, I will no longer run in any political position kung papalpak po itong GOCC na BIDA Bill (I will never run in any political position if ever the GOCC version of the BIDA Bill fails.,” he underscored while assuring the LGU that its mandate under the law will never be affected by the BIDA bill and stressed further that its income wouldn't be touched.

“Hindi po to makakasama sa Boracay and it will not affect the LGU. Wala pong income ng government ang mababawas at kung ano po ang mayroon sa LGU dati, makukuha pa rin nila.” (It will never have a bad effect on Boracay. It will also not affect the LGU. The income of the local government will not be reduced. What the LGU used to have, they'll still continue to receive it),” Yap noted.

“Don’t get me wrong sa mga LGU’s, naiintindihan ko po kayo, alam ko po yung pagmamahal n’yo sa Boracay. Gusto ko lang po sana na ipaliwanag po na mahal din po namin ang Boracay (Don't get me wrong. I understand the LGU’s concerns and I know how much you all care for Boracay Island. But I just want to note that that we all share the same love for the island of Boracay,” he added.

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