KALIBO, Aklan–A measure creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) which President Duterte classified as “important” during his 5th State of the Nation Address is getting the full backing of the solons representing the two legislative districts of this province.
Throwing their full support to the bill is Cong. Carlito Marquez of the 1st Congressional District and Cong. Teodorico “Nonong” Haresco Jr. of the 2nd Congressional District of Aklan.
But while supporting the bill, Marquez said some provisions have to be ironed out first “because I would go for it provided the functions and powers of the local government remains with the local government units especially its economic activities and collection of fees.”
For his part, Haresco, whose district covers the town of Malay where Boracay Island belongs, said the proposed measure may be taken by some locals as encroachment to the administration of the island but allayed fears saying “what the President intends is for the national interest over and above other interests.”
“I know for a fact that Boracaynons have the sense of pride but they have to understand that Boracay is a national treasure therefore not only Boracaynons or Aklanons have great concern for the island,” he said while emphasizing, “Boracay is literally owned by the national government and it is within its rights to preserve its national treasure. Besides, the national government played a big role in building the image of the island and to what it is now.”
“It’s really hightime now to place national interest over our pride by supporting this bill,” he urged.
Haresco, who serves as vice chairperson both of the House Committees on Appropriations and Land Use, said he believes that Boracay is better left to be under the management of an Authority to restore the island 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.”
“We have to consider the fact that no other president has made a significant mark and no other president has ever done that successfully,” he said.
“If Boracay Island is to be under an authority, I believe it is better in order to further sustain the efforts of the national government in cleaning and restoring it and a significant move to have the island a preserved area, a concept that was initiated by former president Marcos,” he stressed.
Haresco has a pending bill in Congress for the creation of the Boracay Island Council which aims to regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of utilities, and other services and infrastructures on the island, but he said he is willing to integrate his proposed bill into the BIDA bill.
BACK TO ITS FORMER GLORY
Calling the BIDA bill an “important” measure that the current Congress has to enact, President Duterte said it showcases the government’s resolve to rehabilitation Boracay Island and 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).
But soon after he classified the bill as important, six new versions of the BIDA bill have been filed in Congress to date authored by Cong. Marquez (HB07256), Partylist Representative Claudine Diana Bautista (HB06285), Paranaque City 1st District Representative Eric Olivares (HB07249), Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund Villafuere Jr., (HB07280), Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez (HB07313), and Bataan 2nd District Representative Jose Enrique Garcia III (HB07360).
All said proposed bills are currently pending with the House Committee on Good Government, Enterprises and Privatization and with the Committee on Local Government./INews