NDRRMC Chairperson and Secretary of National Defense Delfin N Lorenzana presided over the meeting attended by Secretaries, Head of Agencies and representatives of various NDRRMC member agencies.
During the special council meeting, DENR, DOST, and DOH delivered presentations on the present conditions of Boracay Island.
Based on the investigation and validation undertaken by the DILG and DENR, pollution caused by improper waste management and encroachment of protected areas by illegal structures have adversely affected the overall ecological balance of the Island.
Findings of the DOST further revealed that beach erosion is prevalent in Boracay Island, particularly along the West Beach where as much as 40 meters of erosion has taken place in the past 20 years from 1993 to 2003, and is largely due to storms, extraction of sand along the beach to raise properties, and structures along the foreshore.
In addition, Regional DRRM Council VI data shows the significant increase in tourist arrivals in the Island for the last (5) years, specifically from 1,206,252 tourist arrivals in 2012 to 2,001,974 tourist arrivals in 2017.
Following the prevailing conditions in Boracay Island and the urgent need for its temporary closure as a tourist destination for purposes of rehabilitation, the National Council has agreed to recommend to the President the declaration of a State of Calamity in Boracay Island.
“The draft resolution recommending the declaration of a State of Calamity in the affected barangays covering Boracay Island was approved by the National Council subject to minimal modification as discussed during the meeting and for review of the Legal Working Group,” said Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana.
The recommended declaration shall cover the three (3) Barangays in Malay, Aklan for a maximum period of one (1) year. It also recommeded the temporary closure of the Island for a period of six months to allow the government in its expeditious rehabilitation, as well as in addressing the evolving socio-econimic needs of affected communities.
“This concerted effort from the National DRRM Council is in continued pursuit of our initiatives to building disaster resilient Filipino communities,” added Secretary Lorenzana.