Two months have already passed since Boracay was closed for tourists
. Nothing is spared from the impact of the closure as majority of establishments froze operations, whether big or small. The only ones that remained open are those that cater to people involved in the rehabilitation of the island. Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources confirmed in recent media interviews that rehabilitation work is more than 50 percent done. Thus, plans of reopening of the island can be expected by October 26. This news was reaffirmed by the environment secretary in the latest interagency meeting in Boracay.
Aside from the government’s effort in the rehabilitation of the island, members of the community also don’t forget to do their share. Some individuals and groups take their part in cleaning, while others help by alleviating the suffering of the people affected by the closure.
The cleanup and rehabilitation efforts are not just held within the island, but even underwater. The Boracay Business Administration of Scuba Shops, a diving association on the island, in partnership with the Boracay Foundation, Inc., has been regularly conducting underwater cleanup in the waters of Boracay even during the closure. They also aided during the infestation of crown-of-thorns starfish which destroys the corals. Prior to the closure of Boracay, the group has been conducting the same activity to help preserve the marine environment of the island. So even their operations are stopped, they pledge to continue what they have started .
Coastal cleanup is a regular activity in Boracay prior to its closure. No matter how busy life in the island is, people still participate. Even during the closure period, Boracay locals show up on the beach to clean up. Some coastal cleanups are conducted by organizations, either from the government or the private sector.
Events for Boracay
Many people say that what happens in Boracay just stays on the island. But those who have lived on the island carry the island wherever they are. This is the reason why those who have lived and worked in the island for years continue to give much care to island affairs. As result, some groups have created concerts and events for a cause to help those affected by the closure .
One of the primary goals of the rehabilitation period is the restoration of the nine wetlands in Boracay. While the national government is taking charge of removing illegal structures on the different wetlands, some groups have also helped in restoring its greener environment. Led by business group Boracay Foundation, Inc., in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Malay, a mangrove planting activity was held at Sitio Lugutan, one of the wetlands in the island.
More than a thousand mangrove propagules were planted by members and volunteers from different sectors in the community. Mangroves are important in the preservation of the wetland which serves as a natural catch basin. Based on recent media reports, some wetland areas will also be adopted by companies as their own contribution to Boracay rehabilitation .
To provide updates on the ongoing rehabilitation on the island to the public , a community-led monitoring team was also created. Boracay Rehabilitation Monitoring Operations (BRMO) provides weekly updates from the interagency task force for Boracay and the private sector . Aside from transparency, the initiative also aims to promote collaboration and participation among the members of the community during the rehab period.
Hot meal provision
To alleviate the struggle of the people on the island, psychosocial support as well as hot meals distribution are initiated in the community. The youth members of the Philippine Red Cross-Boracay Malay Chapter provides art workshops to kids in the community as psychosocial support. The group also provides hot meals to those who are working under the cash-for-work program of the government .