THE term of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has been extended to June 30, 2022.
According to Executive Order No. 147 signed by President Duterte on September 14, 2021, the extension of the BIATF’s term was deemed necessary as “Covid-19 and the imposition of community quarantine measures have resulted in unprecedented delays and massive disruptions on the implementation of critical programs and projects based on the key thematic areas of the Boracay Action Plan (BAP).” The plan was also extended to 2022.
This is the second time BIATF’s term has been extended after it was created in May 2018 to oversee the rehabilitation of Boracay, famous the world over for its stretch of creamy, white beach. The BIATF’s life was supposed to end on May 18, 2020, but was extended for a year to May 18, 2021.
EO 147 included the accomplishments of the task force, but indicated remaining tasks that need to be completed:
• 20 percent of 339 establishments are not yet compliant with the 30-meter beach easement;
• 17 percent of 1,230 total structures are not yet compliant with the 12-meter road easement;
• All beaches, except at the Tulubhan outfall, are class SB-compliant, i.e., the waters are of swimming pool quality;
• Rehabilitation of nine wetlands are still ongoing;
• Phases 3 and 4 of improvement of the island’s circumferential road projects have yet to be completed; and
• 43 percent of Phase 2 of the drainage project by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority has not yet been finished.
The BIATF is chaired by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, and co-chaired by Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat. The task force was recently in the news for saying it would implement the decision of Duterte to allow casinos on Boracay. (See, “BIATF officials seem blindsided by Duterte announcement allowing casinos in Boracay,” in the BusinessMirror, September 2, 2021.)