BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan—Reacting on the news about Boracay being recognized by Conde Nast Traveler in its 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards as the “Best Island in Asia,” the head of the agency tasked to rehabilitate the island attributed the accolade to the close cooperation of relevant parties especially by the local folks in agreeing and supporting the move of President Duterte to save it from a looming environmental disaster.
Natividad Berdandino, general manager of the Boracay Inter Agency Management and Rehabilitation Group, said this today in an interview with Jonathan Cabrera over Todo Latigo Progran at 88.5FM Radyo Todo Aklan.
“This is very inspiring and serves as encouragement for all of us to continue the rehabilitation works that we are doing for the island,” Berdandino said, adding “It is actually an indirect recognition of all our efforts for the good of the island.”
“I would like to particularly emphasize that the people of Boracay have contributed a lot for this award because if they did not support us in our efforts, the government will certainly fail. So I know everyone is very happy right now,” she underscored as she made the appeal to “Let us continue the efforts. Let’s double it so all reviews can make Boracay number one not only in Asia but also in the world.”
It maybe recalled that Boracay reopened to visitors in October last year after a six-month rehabilitation following the declaration of President Duterte that the island has become a cesspool due to indiscriminate violation of laws threatening its environment.
The award giving body, Conde Nast Traveler, which has won 25 national magazine awards, is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast. It revealed the results from its 32nd annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey recently, with a record 600,000 voters weighing in on their favorite hotels, resorts and destinations around the globe.
With Boracay Island on top, two other Philippine destinations–Cebu and Visayas islands which came in second, and Palawan specifically Puerto Princesa ranked fourth. On the other hand, Penang of Malaysia ranked 3rd while the popular Bali of Indonesia took the 5th and last place for this year’s survey.
The travel magazine, this year, opted to name the best islands according to region – Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, Caribbean and the Atlantic, Europe, North America, Africa and the Indian Ocean – instead of coming out with a single list.
“This particular award clearly demonstrates our hard work and dedication. I’m glad to see that with the concerted efforts from related organizations in the island along with the government plus the cooperation of relevant parties, we are now enjoying a significant improvement here,” Berdandino said.
BEATING THE DEADLINE
During the same interview, Berdandino also announced that the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force is now working double time to beat the deadline given by the President which is only until April 2020.
“So far, I can say that we are now 70 percent finished and the remaining 30 percent is just the road improvement and drainage rehabilitation work that are being facilitated by the Department of Public Works and Highways,” she said.
Now on its Phase 2, DPWH is expected to finish the road construction by December before it commences with its Phase 3 development works or the construction of circumferential road going to Mount Luho.
Mount Luho is Boracay’s highest peak where you can get a 360 degrees panoramic view of the island. It is a winding, hilly portion located in Sitio Lapus-lapus, Brgy. Balabag which is the other side of the island known for its water sports activities most especially during the windy season particularly the months of November to April.
For its part, the drainage project, according to Berdandino, is timeline to be completed in the middle of next year.
She said she is confident that the Task Force can finish its assigned task within the given timeline.
“I am sure that we can beat the deadline. I know for a fact that there is already a pending Bill in Congress that hopes to establish the Boracay Island Development Authority that will sustain the rehabilitation of Boracay and make it a sustainable island destination,” she noted.
By Noel Cabobos