The Department of Tourism (DOT) has raised concerns over the recently signed Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Proposes (FLAGT) between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Boracay Island West Cove Resort in Boracay.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said, “The Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Boracay Island, adopted by the Municipal Government, indicates that the island is prone to geologic hazard where any development should be preceded by a thorough geotechnical study of the project site.”
The DENR inked the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAG-T), granting a 25-year land lease to the Boracay West Cove Resort, which is situated at Sitio Diniwid, Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island. The resort’s land area covers part of no-build zones, as surveyed in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).
“The construction of the said resort facility along the line of cliffs in Sitio Diniwid, Barangay Balabag has obviously not taken into consideration the threat imposed by geo-hazard conditions of the area. The resort was built very close to the cliff and on top of fallen boulders of cliffs which are an unstable structure,” Durano added.
Architect Maria Lisa Santos, Land Use Specialist of the CLUP, further revealed, “We have determined Sitio Diniwid to be an area where only non-permanent structures may be built because of its geo-hazard condition.”
The Boracay West Cove Resort has reportedly built permanent structures along the cliffs lining the shores of the island, prompting several groups to file complaints.
Among the stakeholders who have also filed a complaint include Boracay Foundation Inc., led by Loubelle Cann, “The FLAG-T is only a tenurial title that allows possession of the land, but it does not exempt the land owner from following municipal ordinances regarding building and construction of facilities on no-build zones.”
In the meantime the DOT, through Regional Director Edwin Trompeta, has issued a letter to DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza, appealing to the latter to enforce the following ordinances such as the EIS system, foreshore laws (DAO90-34), shoreline setback (RA 1067), marine protected areas, ecotourism (DAO No. 2001-04) and small island development (DAO No. 2000-83) which have been breached by the said resort.
The DOT initiated the CLUP of Boracay to identify and designate areas by specific use on the 1,086-hectare island. Covering a 10-year period from 2008-2018, the CLUP further ‘provides the long-term land use framework and sectoral plans to serve as blueprint for development and management of the island.’
“Once the Zoning Ordinance of CLUP is adopted by the local government, we aim to employ stronger enforcement of zoning and limitations regarding development and construction in Boracay,” Durano added.