04 November 2008

Suffering Under The Strain

one of my favorite Boracay pictures from Station 1

...... It's called Boracay... NOT Bora

MANILA, Philippines - Boracay Island is on the brink of breaking its “tourism carrying capacity," according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Online news site The News Today reported that DENR undersecretary Manuel Gerochi said this stresses the need for sustainable development.

"It can be surmised that there is still enough room for authorities to promote and invite tourists to come to the paradise island. But, they should be warned that very soon these capacity thresholds will soon be reached, most likely in the next two to three years," said Gerochi.

Gerochi said the island hosts an average of 9,361 visitors per day based on records of the Department of Tourism (DOT) covering 2007 and this year.

This is still below the tourism carrying capacity of the island as shown by a DENR study conducted in May this year, he said.

He said the study showed that the island has a capacity of 10,116.27 swimmers, 16,703.40 sunbathers/users and 14,674 diners along coconut groves.

Gerochi said that with the findings, "it is evident that we cannot go on our 'business-as-usual' attitude. We have to do something to address all these findings."

The DENR completed an environmental master plan to comprehensively address the environmental degradation of the island that threatens the P8-billion tourism industry of the country's premier tourist destination.

Also, the DOT has completed a Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) to guide and regulate development projects on the island.

But the municipal government of Malay last month lifted the moratorium on construction projects even before the implementation of the CLUP and environmental master plan.

Gerochi said the DENR will take the lead in restoring forests where these have been cleared for development especially in the light of the Supreme Court ruling that Boracay is public domain.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court upheld Proclamation 1064 issued by President Arroyo on May 22, 2006 which categorized more around 60 percent of the 1,032-hectare island as alienable and disposable and the rest as forest land and protected areas.

"It may be noted that the environmental enclave is modest in relation to the alienable and disposable area. That is already a big concession. Less than 39 percent of the island remains a forest reserve. You cannot have a forest in a flower pot," said Gerochi.

The court decision will also allow the DENR to proceed with the titling of areas classified as alienable and disposable.

Gerochi said a survey on lots on the island could start by March next year which would be completed in four months. The agency is expected to process applications for titling by July.

DENR Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. allayed the apprehensions of stakeholders especially land occupants and property owners in the light of the court ruling.

He assured them that the government will dialogue with them to discuss the implications of the court ruling on their occupancy.

Last Thursday, Atienza said the court ruling will not affect title holders on the island.

He said the situation of long-time occupants will also be carefully studied and considered.

"I know this is causing a lot of anxiety. No less than the President Arroyo is concerned of your welfare," said Atienza.

Some resort and property owners fear that they will lose their properties or it will take a long time to have their lands titled under the present laws on land titling.

They are pushing for the passage of House Bill 1109 which they hoped will remedy perceived defects in Proclamation 1064.

HB 1109, which declares some parcels of the public domain Within Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan as agricultural land open to disposition authored by Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores, was passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

It is now pending at the Senate.

The bill, which some property owners are opposing, allows occupants of land on the island to be issued free patent if they have been continuously occupying their lots of at least 30 years.

The patent is limited to a maximum of 12 hectares per applicant.

The 30-year period would also include the occupancy of previous occupants of the property being applied for patent.

Under present laws, land claimants over public lands will have to wait for 30 years after the land is declared alienable and disposable before they can apply for titling. - GMANews.TV

It's BORACAY..... NOT Bora!

And lest we forget, the island was named by the
Aetas (indigenous people). All the beachfront property (Hey, practically the entire island!) was taken from these people without just compensation. The pretentiousness of calling it "Bora" hurts these gentle people a second time.-Trixie Cruz Angeles

Aetas -- Many of the resort owners, to be fair, simply bought the rights from the local government who in turn acted out of ignorance, thinking that they did not have to compensate the Aetas because they did not have land titles. But that is the essence of ancestral domain. The land belonged to the indigenous peoples and their ownership ante-dates the Torrens title system. I want the swinging party set to know that their enjoyment comes at the price of the homes of these very gentle people (they have no word for "war", by the way).-Trixie Cruz Angeles

our favorite 'not no secret spot' on beautiful Boracay

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