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PIA Press Release

Gov't moves to protect Boracay wetlands

by Venus G. Villanueva

Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan (15 February) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently issued a cease and desist order to a resort hotel ongoing construction in Boracay Island in a move to protect wetlands in Boracay Island which is an important component of the paradise island's ecosystem.

DENR's move is also in response to Secretary' Atienza's orders that protection of Boracay's wetlands, coastal, marine zones and even the forest ecosystem be ensured by the agency as well as by other government offices tasked to protect the island.

According to the DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Lormelyn Claudio, Boracay Crown Recency, the establishment inspected, was found to be constructed on a wetland area. Claudio said in a radio interview that filling up of the wetland area by construction workers is done during nighttime.

Claudio said the construction project has no Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) and has no DENR clearance to reclaim wetlands.

Claudio said the DENR, together with other government agencies and local offices concerned in the protection of the island, is also eyeing another area in the island which is seen to be a building site of a condo-hotel, also located in a wetland area.

In a move to assist the DENR in protecting Boracay's physical environment, Claudio disclosed that Aklan Police Provincial Office Provincial Director Benigno Durana has offered to set up a checkpoint to prevent hauling of construction materials to the area, of which she was very thankful.

Claudio said this is just the start of DENR's work in Boracay with other government agencies, and called on the civil society, media and non-government organizations (NG0s) to watch and help condemn any wrongdoings against the environment in the island.

Protecting the environment is one of the government's major concerns now not only in the island of Boracay which is a major tourist destination but the entire country in the wake of the threat of air, water and land pollution that contribute to the destructive effects of global warming and climate change.

Just recently, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called on the country's 81 provincial governors "to brace themselves up in joining the national government in addressing the destructive effects of global warming."

The President told the governors that each must assume the mantle of leadership and work to address the challenge of climate change. "Each and every person bears some measure of responsibility for what we have done today and throughout the history to diminish our global environment," the President said in her speech during the 2nd General Assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) held in Camarines Sur.

She noted that from rising tides, to changing weather to deforestation and pollution of air, sea and land, the challenges of climate change are great.

"As a nation made up of more than 7,000 islands, rising seas due to global warming takes on a whole new meaning. In America, if we have rising seas, Florida may lose some coastline. In the Philippines, if we have rising seas we might lose a whole nation," the President said. (PIA) [top]

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