BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan — Paraw or sailboats and island hopping activities on this resort island will not be banned, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
However, it will only be temporarily suspended up to two weeks from the reopening to give way for the marine biodiversity assessment as well as in crafting regulations for them, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said in a press conference Friday.
Boracay’s soft reopening is scheduled on October 26 following an 11-day dry run, which started on October 15.
Antiporda’s response was in relation to the recent petition of some residents and stakeholders on the island, calling on the local government unit (LGU) of Malay town to reject some measures proposed by the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF).
The banning of sailboats and other water sports activities, according to the petition, is “a measure that is not supported by any rule or ordinance and was not consulted to the public”.
Antiporada clarified that paraw and island hopping activities will not be stopped permanently, but stressed that it will “only be regulated”.
The DENR spokesperson likewise clarified that water sports activities on the island will eventually be “resumed in stages”.
“These are tourist attractions, we cannot stop them because this is their livelihood,” Antiporda said.
The only reason that could delay the start of their operations is if the “marine environment of the island is found degraded”, Antiporda said.
“If we will find out (based on the marine biodiversity assessment) that our corals are ruined. We will have no choice but to stop it first,” he said.
Aside from paraw sailing and island hopping, other water sports activities and diving will also be resumed in stages.
DENR Undersecretary Sherwin Rigor said the marine biodiversity assessment will be spearheaded by the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the DENR with the assistance of the Boracay Business Administration of Scuba Shops (BBASS) and the water sports association on the island.
Rigor said a common terminal for waters sports activities is also being eyed. (Karen Bermejo/PNA)