President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to enact the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) which he classified as “important.”
The President stressed this in his 5th State of the Nation Address today at the Batasang Pambansa while underscoring that “the rehabilitation of Boracay Island showcased our resolve to safeguard the environment.”
“We have seen remarkable emergence of the island back to its former glory. I want this sustained so I ask Congress to enact a law creating, this is important, the Boracay Island Development Authority,” he noted.
The President was apparently referring to House Bill No. 6214 otherwise known as “An Act Creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA)” introduced on Feb. 5, this year, authored by Congressman Paolo Duterte of the 1st District of Davao City, and co-authored by Representatives Eric Yap (ACT-CIS) and Sandro Gonzalez (Marino).
The proposed bill, which is currently being taken up by the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, aims to further sustain the efforts of the national government in cleaning and restoring Boracay Island.
“President Rodrigo R. Duterte is the only Chief Executive that embarked on the rehabilitation of Boracay Island. Prior to this, the prestine beaches of the island considered the best in the world is suffering from degradation due to pollution, poor waste disposal, overcrowding etc.,” the bill’s explanatory note stressed.
In introducing BIDA, the proponents cited the rehabilitation process the island undertook “to restore it to its former glory as best haven for tourists from around the world” but underscored that “the challenge at present is how to sustain the recent efforts of the administration in cleaning and restoring the island.”
If approved, BIDA shall be in charge in formulating policies, plans, programs, and projects for the rehabilitation, preservation, and enhancement of Boracay ensuring adequate provisions for environmental management and control.
The measure also aims to promote the preservation of the equality of human life and ecological systems, and the prevention of undue ecological disturbances, deterioration and pollution.
VERSION AT THE SENATE
A similar bill was filed in the Senate last year by Senator Franklin Drilon and is also currently being taken up in the Senate’s Committee level.
In his version, Senator Drilon emphasized that the urgent creation of BIDA is needed to put things in order on the island.
“Being from the region, I will say it bluntly that Boracay is a picture of a failure of government. To be more specific, failure of local governance,” Drilon, an Ilonggo senator, said.
He said all the problems and abuses on the island right now can be traced to the failure of the local governance.
“Boracay is a showcase of what local governance should not be. The environment has been abused. Everything has been abused,” Drilon said as he pushes for BIDA to “regulate the use of the island and its resources and at the same time work on the much-needed management and development of this national treasure”.
The House version, for its parts, stated that BIDA shall promote and encourage the involvement of all sectors of society and maximize people’s participation in natural resource management, conservation and protection.
“BIDA shall be developed into a self-sustaining, industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities and to attract and promote productive local and foreign investments taking into account the protection and preservation of the natural resources and biovidersity of the Boracay island,” it said.
BIDA, under this version, shall be an attached Authority under the DENR to be headed by an administrator to be appointed by the President. The DENR secretary shall serve as its chairman, and the NEDA secretary, as its vice chairman. The other board of directors shall be composed of representatives from the DOT, DOST, DPWH, DOTR, the Province of Aklan and the Municipality of Malay.
“It is recommended that a national authority be created to oversee Boracay Island. Towards this end, the Boracay island Development Authority is sought to be created. The principal task of the Authority is to ensure that the gains realized from the rehabilitations continued and further develop the island,” the explanatory note stressed.