BORACAY ISLAND–The Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI), considered the biggest association representing the community on this island, expressed its support to the proposed creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) but at the same time laid down some of its concerns to the House of Representatives.
In a letter sent to Congressman Eric Olivares, chair of the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, the BFI clearly stated it is supporting the BIDA bill, which, accordingly “shall place Boracay Island under a management that will truly promote and accelerate sustainable development and growth consistent with the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and is truly something to look forward to.”
“We, the Board of Trustees, together with our members and the stakeholders of Boracay, strongly believe that only through proper governance and oversight management can we prevent the mismanagement of the island, something that led to its closure in 2018,” the statement said.
Sent via Congressman Eric Yap, the Committee’s vice-chair, the letter was signed both by BFI chairman Dionisio Salme and its president, Edwin Raymundo.
Along with the letter manifesting their support for the BIDA Bill, the BFI raised some concerns that they hope should be considered by Congress in the passage of the bill.
The list includes land titling, road easement, FlagT, and ensuring the balanced composition of the BIDA Board.
For many years, the parameters of legitimate claims had been a precarious endeavor among many landowners on the island and have been the cause of various court litigations.
“We cannot stress enough how imperative it is to facilitate the titling of land on the island,” they said.
The association also appealed to the House to consider reducing the proposed width of the main road from 30 meters to a more reasonable 12 meters; to allow existing structures on forestland to apply for FlagT; and to have a balanced representation on the Board of Directors–to include representatives from the National Government, Local Government, the Business Sectors, and the Private Sectors.
“Boracay Island has always been the crown jewel of the country, and it will remain so for years to come. As such we, from the BFI, share with you the hopes and aspirations of our beloved island and its people. We stand with you on the proposed creation of BIDA and look forward to an Authority that will provide not just sustainable development for the island but also better living conditions and opportunity to its people,” the statement further said.
As this developed, the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatizations, along with the Committee on Local government chaired by Noel Villanueva, scheduled a continuation of deliberation of the proposed BIDA bills on November 11.
Among those included to be discussed are the proposed creation of the Boracay Island Council (HB 4175) introduced by Aklan 2nd District Congressman Teodorico Haresco, and the BIDA bill version (HB 7256) of 1st District Congressman Carlito Marquez.
The two, ironically, are among the 165 congressmen who signified co-authorship of the BIDA bill (HB 6214) introduced by Representatives Paolo Duterte, Eric Yap, Sandro Gonzalez, Jose Teves, and Kristine Singson-Meehan.
Also listed to be deliberated upon are the BIDA bill versions of Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista (HB 6285), Rep. Eric Olivarez (HB 7249), Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” F. Villafuerte (HB 7280), Rep. Joy Myra Tambunting (HB 7294), Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (HB 7313), and Rep. Jose Enrique “Joet” Garcia III (HB 7360).
Congressman Haresco earlier lambasted other congressmen who proposed their versions of the BIDA bill, lamenting that his colleagues are just “dipping their fingers into the proposed BIDA bill just to suck up to the President.”
He issued the stinging remarks in a recent meeting with local officials of Malay town, where Boracay is, stakeholders, and businessmen, most of whom are members of the Boracay Foundation.